The defending World Series Champion Houston Astros find themselves below .500 at 9-10 and looking for revenge as they travel to Atlanta to face the team that defeated them in the 2021 World Series, the Braves.
Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves (-115, 8.5)
The two young starting pitchers in Friday’s game did not factor in the 2021 World Series as Bryce Elder looks to keep up his strong start for the Braves, having allowed just three runs across three starts and 16 1/3 innings so far this season.
The Astros will send Hunter Brown to oppose him, who’s been terrific as well with four runs allowed across 18 2/3 innings in his three starts this season. But as Brown has ascended this season, the rest of the team has regressed.
In 2022, the Astros led the league with a 2.80 ERA in the bullpen, which currently ranks 14th this season while the Braves rank third after ranking fourth in the same category just one season ago.
The Astros are also trying to overcome injuries in the lineup, ranking 20th in home runs per at-bay this season with both Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve on the shelf.
The Braves have been relatively close to the power standards they set last season to start 2023, currently ranking fifth among MLB teams in home runs both on a per-game and per-at-bay basis after leading the National League in home runs last season.
Both starters in Friday’s clash figure to be mainstays in the rotation for years to come, but it will be the pitcher with the healthier lineup and sharper bullpen supporting them that will get the win, and that team is the home-standing Braves.
The Play: Braves -115