This Wednesday the (84-51) Atlanta Braves and the (50-85) Oakland Athletics will play the final game of this short two-game series. The first pitch will be thrown out at 3:37 PM EST inside the Oakland Coliseum. The first time that these two teams matched up this season, the Braves swept the A's in another short two-game series.
The Atlanta Braves are coming into this one after sweeping the Miami Marlins. They looked incredible on the mound in that series, as they only allowed three combined runs. They completely shut down the Marlins at the plate, as they will be looking to stay solid on the mound in this one.
The Oakland Athletics are entering this one after losing their previous series to the Baltimore Orioles. They won the final game of the series to avoid a sweep, but they still struggled at the dish in the first two games. They will need to wake up at the plate if they want to challenge the Braves in this one.
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Can the Braves Stay Hot?The Atlanta Braves have now won five games in a row and they are 7-3 in their last 10 games played. They have it working on the mound and at the plate, as they have launched themselves in the number one Wild Card spot in the National League. Unfortunately, they are still 1.0 game back from the New York Mets for first place in the NL East. They will need to stay hot if they want any chance of winning their division and avoiding the Wild Card.
At the plate, the Braves are scoring 4.96 runs per game and they are hitting .253 as a team. This is the third most runs scored per game and the ninth-highest overall team batting average. They can score multiple different ways and they are extremely tough to keep off the base paths. Atlanta has been one of the more consistent teams at the plate this season, as they have been driving in men when they are in scoring position all season. They also have multiple guys that can change the game with one swing of the bat. The Braves are averaging 1.51 bombs per game, which is the second most in the MLB. I also expect Atlanta to stay aggressive once they have reached base safely. They have already stolen 76 bases this season, which is the 13th most in the league. They have a ton of speed inside of their lineup, as they will do whatever it takes to get closer to home plate.
According to MLB.com, the Braves will be starting Spencer Strider on the mound. He has been decent this season, as he is 9-4 with s 2.67 ERA and a .98 WHIP. Reaching base consistently against him has been a challenge for his opponents this season. He also looked great in his last start, as he pitched for 8.0 innings and only allowed two hits and zero earned runs. He completely shut the Rockies down, as he continued to attack the strike zone against them. He has only been okay on the road this season, though. He is 4-3 with a 3.24 ERA outside of his home ballpark. If he can't pitch deep into this game, the Braves bullpen will have to step up. They have the sixth lowest bullpen ERA, as they are only allowing 3.22 runs per game. As a team, they are allowing 3.80 runs per game, which is the seventh least in the MLB.
Can the A's Bounce Back?The Oakland Athletics have continued to slide in the wrong direction in the second half of this season, as they are 4-6 in their last 10 and they are still in dead last place in the American League. They are also 25.5 games back from the Toronto Blue Jays for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. The Athletics are still in last place in the AL West, as they are 37 games back from the first-place Houston Astros.
At the plate, Oakland is scoring 3.46 runs per game and they are hitting .217 as a team. This is the second least amount of runs scored per game and the lowest overall team batting average. They have struggled to consistently reach base, as they aren't making enough contact with the ball. The A's also tend to strand base runners in scoring position if they do successfully reach base safely. Oakland also has very little power inside of their lineup, as they have been forced to string together multiple hits to score. They are only hitting .84 bombs per game, which is the third lowest average in the league. I also expect the A's to stay fairly conservative on the base paths, once they have reached base safely. They have only stolen 67 bases this season, which is the 18th most in the league. They can't risk losing any of these possible runs.
According to MLB.com, the A's will be starting Ken Waldichuck on the mound. He is currently 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP. The left-hander has only pitched for 4.2 innings this season, but he looked decent in his short time on the mound. He only allowed five hits and one earned run, as he completely silenced the National's bats. This is the only time that he has pitched this season. The Athletic's bullpen has also had a few issues, as they have the 22nd lowest bullpen ERA. As a team, they are allowing 4.65 runs per game, which is the 23rd most!
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I will be hammering the Atlanta Braves in this matchup with the Athletics. The Braves are on a heater right now, as they have won five games in a row. I see them carrying that momentum into this one, as well. They currently have the ninth-highest overall team batting average and they are scoring the third most runs per game. The A's won't be able to keep them off the base paths or the scoreboard, as they have struggled on the mound this season. Oakland is also allowing the 23rd most runs as a team, as the Braves will have multiple opportunities to blow this game open. I see them consistently reaching base and driving in men when they are in scoring position. The A's will be starting Ken Waldichuck, as he hasn't seen enough time on the mound this season to challenge the Braves. He also gave up multiple hits in his short time on the mound against the Nationals. The Braves are the overall better team and they will make it very difficult for the Athletics to keep up. Atlanta will also have Spencer Strider on the mound, as he looked special in his last start against the Rockies. He will come into this game with a ton of confidence and shut down the A's. He currently has a 2.67 ERA and a .98 WHIP, as reaching base consistently against him is a serious challenge. Oakland is also one of the worst-hitting teams in the league.
Hammer the Atlanta Braves and lay the run line spread (-1.5).
Full-Game Total Pick
This total feels way too low for this game, as I will be hammering the over 6.5. The Athletics are horrible on the mound and at the plate, as they might let the Braves score enough runs to push this total over the number by themselves. Atlanta is scoring the third most runs per game, they have the ninth-highest team batting average, and they are hitting the second most home runs per game. They will score multiple different ways in this game and do their part in pushing this total over 6.5. I also have no confidence in the A's starting pitcher, as he just hasn't pitched enough this season to make me believe he can shut down the Braves. He also gave up a ton of contact to the Nationals in his last start, as I see the Braves loading the bases consistently throughout this game. Now, I don't see the Athletics getting shut out in this game, either. They will be able to score one or two runs on the Braves, as they will score just enough runs to push this total over the number. Strider has struggled on the road this season and I don't see him pitching as well as he did in his last start. He will allow one or two runs and allow the A's to push this total over the number.
This total is too low. Hammer the over 6.5 and trust the Braves at the plate.