Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#907 Pittsburgh Pirates 9 vs.
#908 Atlanta Braves -205
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 7:20pm EDT
Written by Ricky Dimon

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The Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates will continue a four-game series when they square off at SunTrust Park in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Victories in each of the first two contests have extended the Braves’ winning streak to five.

Offense isn’t the problem

While the Braves have hit 23 homers while winning eight of their first 10 games in June, the Pirates fell to 6-16 in their past 22 games and have allowed 7.3 runs per game in that span. First baseman Josh Bell drove home two runs during Tuesday’s loss, becoming the first player in the majors to reach 60 RBIs on the season and giving him at least one RBI in six of his past eight games. Infielder Kevin Newman finished 3-for-4 and has hit safely in 21 of his past 23 starts, batting .292 in that stretch for the Pirates.

Right-hander Mitch Keller (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is taking the mound for Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Pittsburgh plans to recall Keller from Triple-A Indianapolis and give MLB.com’s 18th-ranked prospect his second major-league start, as the Pirates continue to adjust their pitching plans following Monday’s first-inning ejection of Joe Musgrove. The 23-year-old gave up six runs on seven hits in his big-league debut May 27 at Cincinnati, striking out seven over 4.0 innings.

Going, going, gone

The Braves have cranked up the power through their first two contests of a four-game home series against Pittsburgh. They have hit 10 homers in winning the first two games of the series while launching five in each contest, riding two homers and four RBIs from catcher Brian McCann in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory over the Pirates. Atlanta hit back-to-back blasts twice in the second inning. Josh Donaldson, Nick Markakis, and Ozzie Albies also homered along with McCann’s first longball in the second inning, the first time in franchise history the Braves have recorded multiple back-to-back homers in one frame since the Milwaukee Braves did so in 1965.

Mike Soroka (7-1, 1.38 ERA) will oppose Keller on Wednesday. The right-hander is fashioning a Cy Young-worthy season through his first 10 starts, leading the National League in hits per nine innings (5.5) while ranking second in ERA and WHIP (0.87), and fifth in WAR for pitchers (2.6). The 21-year-old gave up a season-high three earned runs in a victory against Detroit on June 1, but he responded by giving up one run on three hits over eight-plus innings last Friday at Miami to win his seventh consecutive decision.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Markakis is 5-for-7 in this series with two homers, three runs, scored and five RBIs. The combination of Atlanta’s scorching-hot bats plus Soroka on the mound will likely be way too much for Pittsburgh. Soroka has held opposing hitters to a .172/.250/.220 slash line, a .470 OPS, and overall has surrendered just 14 runs across 65.1 innings. Pittsburgh is 0-5 in its last five against right-handed starters and 1-4 in its last five at Atlanta. The Braves are 4-1 in Soroka’s last five starts, 4-1 in his last five home starts, and 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between the two teams.

Prediction: Atlanta Braves

Full-Game Total Pick

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Keller has excelled at Triple-A, going 5-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 starts while recording 13 strikeouts–including the first 12 outs of the game–in 5.0 innings last Friday. He will have to be lights out on Wednesday in order for his team to have any chance of beating a red-hot Soroka. The under is 7-3 in Soroka’s last 10 starts and 5-1 in his last six home starts. Look for this one to stay under the total.

Prediction: Under

Written By Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.