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Braves vs. Giants Odds
Braves Odds: +105
Giants Odds: -125
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
The San Francisco Giants just keep winning.
At 97-52, they’ve done the impossible and done enough to stay ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers by two games. While LA has won seven of 10, San Fran has won eight of 10, and is aiming for the sweep of the Braves on Sunday.
Atlanta, meanwhile, needs a win to stay atop the NL East with the Phillies lurking a game behind in the standings. With both teams needing this one, the line is understandably close, but should one team be a heavier favorite? Let’s have a look at the matchup.
Braves Need Offense To Step Up
There is trouble in Atlanta. Bryce Harper is playing like an MVP for the Phillies, who are on a four-game winning streak and now just a game out of the NL East lead. The Braves have dropped four straight, including two at home to the Colorado Rockies. Wins are needed, and they’re needed now.
The Braves did well to challenge the Giants in a 6-5 loss on Friday, but were shut out at the hands of Alex Wood and this ever-strengthening Giants bullpen on Saturday.
As it stands, Atlanta is now 23rd in wRC+ over the last week, is hitting just .227 and has struck out in an astonishing 25.7% of plate appearances. The plate discipline has been poor for Atlanta, which has struggled to find the power that got it to this point with just six home runs in the last week.
Speaking of home runs, Max Fried has allowed one in three of his last four starts, and in the one outing where he was free of homers, he walked four hitters.
It hasn’t been the most convincing run since his complete-game shutout on August 20 against Baltimore, with a 3.38 ERA in 24 innings, but it could be worse. Fried has allowed four homers and six extra-base hits with six walks in that four-start span, indicating he may be fortunate to have that ERA given the amount of traffic on the base paths.
Giants Just Keep Rolling
The Giants have been commanding at the plate of late. In the last seven days, they rank second in wRC+, walking 11.6% of the time and limiting their strikeout rate to just 21.7%. The plate discipline has been very, very good and a 12.2% barrel rate represents how well San Francisco is hitting the ball.
Against left-handed pitching, there’s a very similar story. The Giants rank seventh in wRC+ within the split, with a walk rate near 11% and a strikeout rate under 22%.
With bats like Wilmer Flores and Evan Longoria already in the lineup, San Francisco had a very good attack against southpaws, but the addition of Kris Bryant has cemented this team’s dominance against lefties.
Anthony DeSclafani and his solid numbers will take the hill once again for San Francisco, and after a bit of a hiccup around the All-Star break things have gone back to normal.
DeSclafani owns a 2.12 ERA in three September starts, striking out 13 over 17 innings with just five walks to his name. He hasn’t been the strongest in the quality contact department, but against an undisciplined Braves team, he should feast.
The Braves’ propensity for the strikeout of late should be their undoing here against DeSclafani, who has improved in that department this year and who has struck out at least five in two of his last three outings. As mentioned above, the Braves have also had a difficult time driving the ball of late.
San Francisco has been solid against left-handed pitching all year long, and Fried has been very shaky in his last few outings. At the very least, the Giants should get a hefty amount of runs on the board, making DeSclafani’s job a bit easier.
Pick: Giants ML (-120)