Braves look to stay hot in Denver

The Atlanta Braves are closing in on the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League’s Eastern Division, while the Colorado Rockies are falling perilously behind in the NL West. So it’s two teams headed in different directions who meet for game two of a four-game series Tuesday night in Denver (8:40 pm Eastern).

Atlanta took the opener of this series Monday night 7-4, getting help from a key error by Rockies 1B Todd Helton, who lost an infield throw in the setting sun in the second inning, leading to two unearned Braves runs. The Braves have now won all five games vs. the Rockies this year, and four of those five games have played over their posted totals.

So Atlanta, at 57-39, now trails Philadelphia by just 2.5 games in the NL East, while Colorado, at 45-51, now trails San Francisco by 10.5 games in the NL West.

Rookie Brandon Beachy (3-1, 3.21) takes his turn on the mound Tuesday for the Braves against Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8, 4.08) for the Rockies. As of Tuesday morning BetOnline.com is listing Colorado as a -137 favorite for Tuesday night’s game, with an over/under of 8.5. The Rockies are also being offered at +150 on the BetOnline run line, with Atlanta giving -170 getting the run and a half.

Beachy is eight-for-12 on quality starts this year, and he’s on a pretty good run, allowing just seven earned runs on 22 hits in his last four starts, covering 23 innings of work, walking three and striking out 32. The Braves are 6-6 in Beachy’s starts this year, with the over/unders also going 6-6.

This will be his first-ever start vs. Colorado.

Jimenez started slowly this year but has been pitching better as of late. He’s now nine-for-18 in quality starts this year, and he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last nine starts. Over his last two starts Jimenez has given up three ER on 11 hits in 14 IP. The Rockies are just 6-12 in Jimenez’ starts this season, with the O/Us going 9-8.

Jimenez started once last year vs. Atlanta and threw a no-hitter. In his one start this year vs. the Braves a couple of weeks ago he gave up three ER on six hits in 5 1/3 IP, walking one and striking out nine.

Atlanta is a very respectable 27-20 on the road this year, while Colorado is 24-25 at home.

On the injury front Atlanta OF Jason Heyward missed Monday’s game with a sore foot, and is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game.

The over/unders are 45-44 in Braves games this season (excluding pushes), 48-45 in Rockies games, and 29-19 in games played at Coors Field.

As for Tuesday’s game both starting pitchers have been in good form lately, so we’ll play the under 8.5.

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