Braves Look to Prove They are True World Series Contenders
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves both have comfortable leads in their respective divisions at this point in the season. The Dodgers especially do with fewer than 50 games to go before the playoffs. They are in no danger of losing their 19.5 game lead in the National League West. The Dodgers will be in Cobb County tonight to open a three-game series against the National League East leading Braves.
TV: 7:20 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SportsNet Los Angeles, FS South (Atlanta); LINE: Braves -120; O/U: 10 Under -115.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Kenta Maeda (8-8, 4.12 ERA) vs. Braves RH Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.32)
The Dodgers wrapped up the week and have a league best record of 81-42. The Braves are second on the senior circuit at 72-51, 5.5 games up in the NL East. When these two teams met back in early May at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers swept all three games by a combined score of 23-7. Needless to say both of these teams are much different than they were back then.
The Dodgers are tied with the Yankees for the best record in the majors, and they own a big-league leading plus-208 run differential. Perhaps both teams were looking ahead to the weekend Thursday. Los Angeles fell for just the third time in 15 games with a 13-7 loss at Miami. The Braves rallied from a late deficit only to fall 10-8 to the Mets.
The series features two of the top contenders for National League MVP honors. Los Angeles first baseman Cody Bellinger became the first player in the majors to hit 40 homers this season with a three-run blast Thursday. That gives him 16 RBI’s in his past 19 games and 93 on the season. Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. also homered Thursday and begins the series two steals shy of a 30/30 season. He has a serious shot at a 40/40 campaign. He has 14 of his 35 homers and 15 of his 28 steals since the All-Star break.
This, That, and a Dodgers and Braves Dart Throw
Kenta Maeda (4.12 ERA) will be pitching for Los Angeles opposite Mike Soroka (2.32 ERA) for Atlanta. Maeda has been steady if unspectacular. He has a team record of 12-11 and the Under at 13-8-2. Maeda snapped a rough three-start streak with a stellar outing Saturday against Arizona. He struck out six while allowing only three hits with no walks in seven shutout innings. The gem end an 11-start winless streak. Maeda had given up 14 runs on 16 hits in just 11 innings in his three previous starts. He also surrendered nine homers while having a 5.23 ERA in his past 12 games (11 starts) before Saturday. Maeda is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in two career starts against Atlanta. He also pitched a scoreless inning against the Braves in last season’s NL Division Series.
The Braves‘ Soroka is a leading NL Cy Young candidate and a highly profitable starter with a team record of 15-6 with the Under sitting at 12-8-1. Soroka is 16-1/3 innings shy of his heaviest workload as a professional. He pitched 153-2/3 innings at Double-A Mississippi in 2017. He has tossed seven innings in each of his previous three starts. The young right-hander allowed four runs on 12 hits in that span.
Soroka blanked Miami over seven innings on Saturday. He gave up three hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He entered Thursday second in the NL in ERA and eighth in WHIP (1.08). Soroka has surrendered one earned run or fewer in 14 of his 21 starts this season. He makes his first career appearance against the Dodgers. Atlanta set a season high with six homers in Thursday’s loss. They received two apiece from 1B Freddie Freeman and 3B Josh Donaldson.
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The Dart Throw: Braves 6, Dodgers 3
Atlanta Braves Trends
- Trend Under is 10-4 in Braves last 14 games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. Hit % 71.40% (14) O/U 4|10 Push 0 W/L
- Over is 23-7-2 in Braves last 32 games with the total set at 7.0-8.5. 76.70% (32) 23|7 2
- Under is 5-1 in Braves last 6 home games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 83.30% (6) 1|5 0
- Over is 5-0 in Braves last 5 games a home underdog of +201 or greater. 100.00% (5) 5|0 0
LA Dodgers Trends
- Trend Under is 5-1 in Dodgers last 6 games with the total set at 9.0-10.5. Hit % 83.30% (6) O/U 3|1 Push 2 W/L
- Over is 10-2 in Dodgers last 12 games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 83.30% (12) 4|10 0
- Over is 4-0 in Dodgers last 4 road games with the total set at 6.5 or lower. 100.00% (4) 4|0 0
- Over is 5-0 in Dodgers last 5 games as a road favorite of -201 or greater. 100.00% (5) 5|0 0
- Trend Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings in Atlanta. Hit % 75.00% (5) O/U 1|3 Push 1 W/L
- Over is 3-0-2 in the last 5 meetings. 100.00% (5) 3|0 2
- Dodgers are 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Atlanta. 72.70% (11) 0 8|3
- Dodgers are 36-17 in the last 53 meetings. 67.90% (53) 0 36|17
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