Defending World Series Champions the Atlanta Braves are travelling to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a 3-game series starting Friday Night. The Braves have been arguably the best team in baseball in June, securing over 20 wins and scoring nearly 6 runs per game. The Reds have improved since their horrific start but are still 5th in the NL Central. Can the Reds play well enough at home to topple Max Fried and the Braves? Here is my complete prediction and breakdown.
The Atlanta Braves have completely dominated the month of June. They are currently sitting in 2nd in the NL East with a record of 44-33. A whopping 21 wins came in June, where the team averaged 5.74 runs per game, hit 54 home runs and pitched a combined ERA of 3.53. It is safe to say this team completed heated up and now find themselves in a battle with the New York Mets for 1st place in NL East. The Braves are coming off a 3-game series against the Phillies where they won 2-1 in total, winning the first two games a combined 9-4, before blowing out a 14-4 loss in game 3.
The Braves have been a dominate offense force, even without MVP Freddie Freeman. We already mentioned their near 6 runs per game in the month of June, but for the season they are hitting a combined average of .247, scoring 4.7 runs per game, with a .313 OBP and .753 OPS. The team knows how to go deep, hitting 114 homers this season which is 2nd in the league. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has been on fire with a .339 batting average, 7 home runs and a .978 OPS this month.
Left-handed ace Max Fried is taking the mound for the Braves in this matchup and is having an incredible season. For the season Fried is 7-2, with a 2.77 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 94.1 innings of work. In the month of June, Fried went 2-0 in five starts with a 2.16 ERA and a WHIP of 0.96. He has not lost a start since back on April 13th against the Nationals. The Braves also have a great bullpen who ranks 7th in the league with a 3.68 ERA.
Reds Looking Towards the Future
The Reds opened their 2022 season in Atlanta where they actually took the 2 of the 4-game series. After that, the Reds went on to lose 20 of their next 21 games! They may have turned things around slightly since then going 23-26 since. They are still a poor team who is in the midst of rebuilding. They are just 3-7 in their last 10 games, including coming off back-to-back blowout losses to the Cubs (8-3 and 15-7). This is mostly due to their pitching staff who have up 23 hits in their last game and allowed 4 home runs!
For the season the Reds are batting in a respectable 4.4 runs per game and batting a .242 average. Brandon Drury leads the team with 40 RBI’s and 16 home runs. Whilst Tommy Pham is also playing well with 33 RBI’s and 11 homers.
For this game the Reds hand the mound to Mike Minor. The 34-year-old leftie is having a troubled season where he is 1-4 over 25.2 innings, with a 7.71 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. He has allowed at least 3 runs in each of his last 5 starts and 11 of his last 12. With the worst pitching staff behind him the Reds will need Minor to have his best game yet if he hopes to top the Braves.
This game features a big mismatch. One of the best teams in baseball pushing for another World Series against one of the worst pushing for a rebuild. Whilst the Reds can put up runs, especially against lefties where they are batten a .357 in their last 5, Fried is just a different kind of pitcher to face. Atlantas ace is just on a whole other level and should go 6-7 innings deep on this Reds team. Minor on the other hand is averaging 7.3 hits per game in his last 3 starts, bad news against this dominated Braves lineup.
The books are calculating this with the Braves currently sitting at a -270 favourite. It won’t take long for the Braves to jump all over Minor so we are just asking them to cover the first five.
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