ESPN Baseball: Atlanta Braves vs Cincinnati Reds MLB Preview
Starting Pitchers: Atlanta (Minor) vs. Cincinnati (Leake)
Date/Time: May 21, 7:10 PM EST
MLB Betting Odds from TopBet
Moneyline: Reds (-111) Braves (+101)
The Cincinnati Reds became the first team to ever play the Mets and then the Yankees in back-to-back series’ this past week. They finished 3-2 on the New York City trip. Atlanta has won seven of their last ten, and they now lead the NL East with a 26-16 record. The Reds trail the Cardinals in the NL Central by just a half game. These are two of the best teams that the National League has to offer.
Atlanta’s offense struggled through their opening series of the year against the Mets, but they have been awesome ever since. The Braves lead the National League in scoring. Atlanta averages 5.40 runs per game. The emergence of Freddie Freeman as a top RBI man as well as the constant timely hitting from Martin Prado have meant a lot for this offense. This is one of the deepest lineups in baseball. Jason Heyward has been batting in the seven hole some this season, which tells you this is a very dangerous lineup.
Mike Minor was expected to be a breakout candidate this year, but he has been terrible in his last three starts. Minor has allowed 20 runs in his last three starts. He has given up six or more earned runs five times already and we are only in May. He must improve if he wants to keep his spot in the rotation.
The Reds didn’t get a hit through five innings yesterday against C.C. Sabathia, but the offense got going enough to pull out a 5-2 win. Ryan Ludwick has struggled all season, but he had a huge offensive game on Sunday. The Reds certainly hope that can get Ludwick going, because he is a guy that this offense needs. Joey Votto leads the Reds with a .301 average and 28 RBI’s. Drew Stubbs and Zack Cozart have both been in major slumps, and the Reds can’t seem to find anyone to hit out of the leadoff spot.
Mike Leake is 0-5 with a 6.21 ERA so far this year. Leake has been having command issues, and that is usually a strength for him. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth inning to get his first save of the season yesterday. Chapman may well be the Reds main closer now, and that makes this bullpen quite dangerous.
The Braves are 16-5 in their last 21 road games. Despite Minor’s poor pitching of late, the Braves have managed to win 5 of his last 7 starts.
The Reds are 1-4 in Leake’s last 5 starts. Cincinnati is 20-9 in their last 29 as a home favorite.
The over is 4-0 in Minor’s last 4 starts. The over is 4-1 in the Reds last 5 against the NL East.
MLB Free Pick: Over 9
The Reds haven’t shown it too often this year, but they do have a solid offense. The Braves offense is loaded. Both of these pitchers are struggling right now. This one should be high scoring.