The July 5th NL free pick is a good one as both the Braves and Brewers are holding on to less than 2 game leads in their respective divisions. Both teams are rolling nicely too, with the Braves winning 4 of 6 so far on their road trip and the Brewers coming off a 3-game sweep of the Twins. Oddsmakers are setting the line pretty close at ATL +100 and MIL -110. The pitching matchup and home field would seem to favor Milwaukee, but the Braves have been a tough out all season.
Atlanta Goes With the Improving Lefty Max Fried
Thursday’s starting pitcher for the Braves is left-hander Max Fried (1-2, 2.55 ERA) who has split time between the bullpen, starting, and the minor leagues so far in 2018. The second year player will be making just his third start of the year in the July 5th NL free pick but he has shown great potential thus far. The last time out against St. Louis, Fried pitched into the 7th while allowing 0ER and striking out 11 Cardinals batters. Before that, the left hander allowed just a single ER over 5IP vs. the Mets. The only Milwaukee player to ever face Fried is Christian Yelich last year with Miami but the good news is that in the pitcher’s 6 career starts Atlanta is 5-1.
Some good news for the Braves is that Freddie Freeman is listed as probable for Thursday even though he left yesterday’s game after being hit by a pitch. Freeman will be a boost for Atlanta’s #6 run scoring offense that has scored 5+ runs in 8 of their last 10 as he is 5-11 (.455) with 2HR vs. today’s Brewers starter. Johan Camargo has also started July off hot, going 4-11 (.364) with 2HR.
Despite the Wins, Milwaukee Offense Has Been Spotty
Did the Brewers have a good start to the holiday week by sweeping Minnesota – or did they simply take advantage of a reeling Twins team? Milwaukee won 2-0 on Tuesday and squeaked out a 3-2 win yesterday to mark 4 times in their last 5 games that Craig Counsell’s team has tallied 3ER or less. The team has put up 6HR so far in 4 July games and 2B Brad Miller is off to a hot start in the month batting .429. With almost no experience against Atlanta starter Fried, it’s hard to know what to expect from the Milwaukee offense on Thursday night.
Perhaps even more unpredictable than the hitting for Milwaukee in the July 5th NL free pick is the pitching. Normally Jhoulys Chacin (6-3, 3.71 ERA) would be a solid bet but he had his worst outing of the season two starts ago, allowing 8ER on 9 hits in just 4.1 IP vs. the Cardinals. Granted, the right-hander did bounce back nicely the last time out limiting Cincinnati to 1ER on 4 hits. Plus, the Brewers are 5-1 in Chacin’s last 6 home starts and 8-2 in his last 10 on 4 days rest.
July 5th NL Free Pick Betting
A low scoring affair should be on the docket today considering the ‘under’ is 5-2 in Chacin’s last 7 home starts and 5-1 in his last 6 on 4 days of rest. The Braves have the offense to buck that trend however. The Brewers also have just one healthy everyday player that has an OBP above .350 against left-handed batters and that’s Jesus Aguilar. Milwaukee may be riding some false momentum after beating the Twins three straight, but Atlanta has answered the bell whenever they’ve been asked to this season.
Free Pick: Atlanta Braves +100