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The Atlanta Braves will host the Pittsburgh Pirates for the third game of their four-game series here. The first two games of the series both had a ton of action with a lot of scoring, so this should be a good one. Mike Soroka will be on the mound for the Braves here, while Mitch Keller will make the second start of his career for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is collapsing like a house of cards, and I’ve been enjoying it. The Pirates had an unprecedented run of luck early on this season, hovering around .500 even though they were clearly one of the worst teams in the league. Oddsmakers were vastly overvaluing them, and they’ve now lost 15 of their last 21 games. They’ve lost four straight entering Tuesday, and I don’t think things are going to get much better for them with Mitch Keller on the mound here. Keller is a rookie who will be making just the second big league appearance of his career. He really struggled in his first career start, giving up six earned runs in just four innings against the Reds.
Having him pitch here on the road against this Braves lineup that is red hot at the moment feels like a recipe for disaster. Keller didn’t look ready for the majors in his first start, and he’s being thrown to the wolves here. Atlanta has one of the most talented lineups in the league, and I don’t think Keller stands a chance here. Pittsburgh’s lineup is also extremely weak, as they don’t have any pop outside of Josh Bell. Pittsburgh is clearly in free-fall at the moment, and you should fade them while you still have the chance and before everybody else wakes up.
While the Pirates have really been struggling lately, the Braves are on an opposite path. They’ve been rolling recently, and are starting to look like the team that won the NL East last season. They’d won four straight games entering Tuesday, and have looked dominant in this series so far. They’ll have Mike Soroka on the mound here, a young phenom who is looking like one of the league’s next great pitchers. It’s not hyperbole to say Soroka has arguably been the best pitchers in the majors this year, as he enters this one with a 1.38 ERA. He looked very good as a rookie last year, so I’m not surprised by his breakout.
10 starts. 1.38 ERA.
Mike Soroka is going after ALL the awards. pic.twitter.com/c1xci4W7x9
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) June 8, 2019
Incredibly, Soroka is only 21 still, and dominating opponents. In nine of his ten starts this season, he’s given up one or zero runs. That’s absurd, and I think he’ll have no problem dealing with this weak Pittsburgh lineup. Not surprisingly, they’re 8-0 in Soroka’s last 8 starts against teams with a losing record. Just as impressive as Soroka has been this Atlanta lineup as of late. Over their last nine games, they’ve scored 62 runs, an average of nearly seven per game. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty high on this Braves team, and they’ve owned this matchup recently, going 7-3 the last ten times they’ve faced the Pirates. There’s no way I could fade Atlanta at the moment…
- 8-0 in Soroka’s last 8 starts vs. a team with a losing record
- 11-3 in their last 14 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- 7-3 in their last 10 games vs. Pittsburgh
- 0-4 in their last 4 overall
- 0-6 in their last 6 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15
- 1-4 in their last 5 during game 3 of a series
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
There’s no way you can fade the Braves here. They’re on fire at the moment, and their lineup has arguably been the league’s best since they called up Austin Riley. The Pirates, on the other hand, are in free-fall and are rightfully getting exposed after a very lucky start to the season. There’s a massive mismatch on the mound, so the run line makes a lot of sense here.
Prediction: Braves -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the over a lot here. Soroka has been dominant, but he’s not going to pitch the entire game here. I expect the Braves to be up big early on, and they’ll give him a rest after just six innings or so. Keller is making just the second start of his career against an offense that is tearing it up, so the Braves could easily send this one over by themselves.