Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#905 Atlanta Braves vs.
#906 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Mason Folz

This article covers a past game!

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This Tuesday, the (75-48) Atlanta Braves and the (47-74) Pittsburgh Pirates will play game two of this three-game series. The first pitch will be thrown out at 7:05 PM EST inside PNC Park. This will be the second series between these two teams this season, as the Braves swept the Pirates in their last four-game series.

The Atlanta Braves are coming into this one after winning their last series against the Houston Astros. The Braves showed up in the first two games of that series, as they scored 11 combined runs. They were hitting everything they could see and they continued to stack runs on the Astros. They will need to stay hot at the dish if they want to take care of business on the road.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are entering this one after losing their previous three-game series to the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates struggled on the mound in the final two games of their last series. They gave up 19 combined runs in their two losses.

This game was written/published before last night's results.

Can the Braves Keep Rolling?

The Atlanta Braves are currently holding the first NL Wild Card spot, as they have an 8.0 game lead over the second-place San Diego Padres. Atlanta is also 8-2 in their last 10 games, as they continue to stack wins throughout this season. Their strong play has also put them in second place in the NL East, as they are only 4.0 games behind the first-place Mets. At the plate, the Braves are scoring 4.89 runs per game and they are hitting .252 as a team. This is the fourth most runs scored per game and the ninth highest overall team batting average. They are consistently reaching base safely and they are also driving in men when they are in scoring position. They have been one of the most clutch teams this season, as they continue to light up the scoreboard. They can also score multiple different ways, as they have a ton of power inside their lineup. They are hitting 1.52 bombs per game, which is the second most in the league. I also expect the Braves to stay aggressive once they have reached base safely. They have already stolen 70 bases this season, which is the 12th most in MLB. They will do whatever it takes to push their base runners into scoring position, as the Braves have continued to drive in runs all season.

According to MLB.com, the Braves will start Max Fried on the mound. He has been one of the best pitchers in the league this season, as he is 11-4 with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He has done a great job of keeping his opponents off the bases, as he has been striking out batters all season. He also looked solid in his last start, as he pitched for 7.0 innings and only gave up four hits and two earned runs against the Mets. Fried has also been a road warrior this season, as he is 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA on the road. He has continued to step into his opponent's ballparks and get the job done. The Braves also have one of the best bullpens in the league. They are allowing 3.21 runs per game, which is the fifth least. They can shut down the opposing batting lineup late in these games, as their bullpen hasn't blown many leads this season.

Can the Pirates Respond?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have not had the season that they were hoping for, as they are now 2-8 in their last 10 games played. Their poor play has continued to hurt them all season, as they are also in dead last place in the NL Central. The Pirate's chances of playing in the postseason are also closing, as they are currently 19 games behind the Phillies for the third and final NL Wild Card spot. They will need to go on an unbelievable run if they want any chance at playing in the postseason. At the plate, the Pirates are scoring 3.73 runs per game and they are hitting .221 as a team. This is the third least amount of runs scored this season and the second lowest team batting average, as the Pirates haven't consistently reached base enough to give themselves enough chances to score. They have also stayed stagnant at the plate, as they aren't scoring multiple different ways. It has taken multiple base hits to score over the past few weeks, as they are only hitting .96 bombs per game. They have very little power inside their lineup, as it is difficult for them to stack runs quickly. I do expect them to stay conservative once they have reached base safely, though. They have only stolen 62 bases this season, which is the 22nd least in MLB. They can't risk losing these base runners, as they have been rare for the Pirates this season.

According to MLB.com, JT Brubaker will be starting on the mound in this one. He is currently (3-10) with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. In his last start, he pitched for 7.0 innings and shut out the Red Sox, as this was one of his best starts of the year. He has had issues this season, though. His team has lost four of his last five starts and he is 3-3 with a 4.66 ERA inside PNC Park. He has had issues in front of his fans this season, as he continues to send them home upset. The Pittsburgh bullpen also worries me a bit, as they are allowing the fourth most runs per game with 4.61. They have continued to give up runs late in these games, as their opponents have been teeing off on them all season. The Pirates are also allowing the 27th most runs per game, as they have struggled on the mound as a team all season.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I will be riding with the Atlanta Braves (-1.5) in this one against the Pirates. Pittsburgh has continued to struggle all season and I think the Braves are one of the strongest teams in the MLB. They are scoring the fourth most runs per game and they have the ninth highest overall team batting average. They will consistently reach base against Brubaker and they will slowly pull away throughout this game. The Pirates have also struggled on the mound all season, as they are allowing the 27th most runs each game. Brubaker looked solid in his last start, but I don't see him repeating that performance in this one. The Braves are one of the best hitting teams in the league and they can stack runs quickly. They are hitting 1.52 home runs per game, as well. They can score multiple different ways and the Pirates just won't be able to keep on the scoreboard. The Braves are also starting Max Fried on the mound, as the Pirates don't stand a chance against him. They are scoring the third least amount of runs this season and they have the second lowest team batting average. They won't consistently reach base throughout this game and the Braves will continue to pull away. Fried has been a man on a mission this season and I don't see giving up many runs to the Pirates.

Pick the Atlanta Braves and lay the run line spread (-1.5).

Prediction: Atlanta Braves -1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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I will be taking the under (8.5) runs in this game between the Pirates and the Braves. If your book doesn't have the total set at this number, I would recommend buying it. This gives a little more value and I just don't see the Pirates scoring enough runs to push this total over (8.5). The Braves will start Max Fried on the mound, as he is 11-4 on the season with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. The Pirates are scoring the third least amount of runs per game and they have the second lowest overall team batting average. They will fail to consistently reach base against Fried and this game will remain low-scoring. I do see the Braves cashing in at the plate, but I don't think they will be able to score more than eight runs by themselves. Brubaker is 3-3 at home this season, as he has shown that he can put men down quickly. He also completely shut down the Red Sox in his last start, as he will make it difficult for the Braves to consistently score throughout the early part of this game.

This will be a low-scoring game. Take the under (8.5) and trust the starting pitchers in this one.

Prediction: Under 8.5
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Written By Mason Folz , "Mason Folz"

Mason graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder and he has been watching SportsCenter since before he could walk. He has been crunching numbers since he could learn to count and nothing makes Mason happier in this world than talking sports, unless he is on the golf course! We are very happy to have added Mason to our team at StatSalt and you will be glad as well. Let's win some money!