The Cleveland Guardians (41-43, 20-20 home) host the Atlanta Braves (57-27, 27-12 away) in the second contest of a three-game set leading to kick off the final week of the first half of the regular season. Atlanta took Game 1, defeating the Guardians, 4-2, in the opener.
The first pitch of Tuesday’s contest is at 7:10 p.m. EST inside Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Atlanta is the betting favorite (-125 moneyline) and the over/under total is nine runs.
What to Know – Atlanta Braves
Atlanta has won nine in a row and 17 of its last 18 contests to take over the best record in baseball. The Braves sit nine games ahead of the Miami Marlins in the NL East division.
Left-hander Kolby Allard (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 ERA) takes the ball on the mound for the Braves. Allard opened up the season on the injured list while recovering from a Grade 2 oblique strain. In his first start, Allard twirled 4.2 innings of shutout baseball, scattering three hits, walking one, and striking out eight batters.
The Braves rank second in the majors batting .271 as a team and scoring 5.6 runs per game. Atlanta’s pitching staff is third in the MLB with a 3.64 team earned run average.
Matt Olson has filled the role of Freddie Freeman admirably this season, leading the Braves with 28 home runs and 68 runs batted in, both ranking second in the MLB. Ronald Acuna Jr. is second in the majors with a .335 batting average and has added 21 home runs and 40 stolen bases.
What to Know – Cleveland Guardians
Cleveland won the final two matchups against the Chicago Cubs before the series-opening loss yesterday to the Braves. The Guardians are squarely in the mix in the AL Central, trailing the Minnesota Twins by one game.
Shane Bieber (5-5, 3.48 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) is set for his turn in the rotation for Cleveland. The 28-year-old returns to the mound after logging his second shutout outing in his last four trips. Bieber has tossed 106.0 innings, allowing 41 earned runs on 98 hits and 28 walks while striking out 85 batters.
On offense, Cleveland sits 17th in the league hitting .248 as a lineup and averaging 4.0 runs per contest. The Guardians are sixth amongst league teams sporting a 3.80 team ERA.
Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor have guided the Guardians offense through the first half of the season. The two bats have combined for 23 home runs and 112 RBIs. Naylor leads the team with 60 RBIs.
The Pick is In
Cleveland has its best chance against the Braves with Bieber on the hill, but the Braves are the hottest team in baseball and no pitcher is safe against this offense. Atlanta, behind another strong showing from Allard, gets it done again for the organization’s tenth win in a row.
The Pick: Atlanta Braves ML