There haven’t been many losing streaks for the Atlanta Braves this year, but they ended a three-game skid yesterday with an 8-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Braves are 71-40 and still have the best record in baseball heading into Game 3 of four in Pittsburgh tonight. The Pirates are 51-62.
Tonight it’ll be two pitchers who haven’t been on the mound much this year. Max Fried missed time to injury and is making his sixth start of the year and second start back. Quinn Priester has made just four starts for the Pirates since getting called up from Triple-A and is 2-1, but with an 8.69 ERA. Fried is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA.
Let’s get into the odds.
Braves vs. Pirates odds, run line and total
Braves vs. Pirates prediction and pick
The Pirates best hitter this year has been Jack Suwinski and he almost certainly won’t be in the lineup tonight against the lefty Fried. For some reason Derek Shelton, the Pirates manager, refuses to give him at-bats against lefties regularly, so that takes a serious threat out of the starting nine. Connor Joe has been hot lately and has an .854 OPS against lefties this year, but if Max Fried can shut down the Cubs he can handle the Pirates.
Fried went six scoreless innings in his return from injury against a red-hot Cubs team and only allowed three hits with eight strikeouts. Getting him back gives Atlanta a huge boost and Fried has now allowed zero runs in four of his six starts this year. That can’t last forever and the Pirates already beat up Spencer Strider in this series, but I expect Fried to have a strong outing.
Even if Fried isn’t great the Atlanta lineup will be. Quinn Priester has been a disaster for the Pirates since coming up from Triple-A and it’s because he has minor league stuff. His fastball averages 92.7 MPH and has just a 14.3% whiff rate, while his sinker comes in at 92.5 MPH with an 11.8% whiff rate. He throws one of those two pitches 56.7% of the time which means the Braves will be putting a lot of balls in play.
As a team the Braves have a hard hit rate of 46.4% which is the best of any team in baseball and is nearly as good as Bryan Reynolds’s hard hit rate which is 49.8% the best of any Pirate.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change