After taking two of three from the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves head down south to face the other second-place squad in the NL East with a three-game set against the Miami Marlins. First pitch of the opener is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET from loanDepot Park. The pitching battle will be a rematch of just last week, as Braves youngster Bryce Elder (2-0, 2.17 ERA) faces off against reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara (1-2, 5.04) for the second straight time.
The Marlins are -130 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Braves are slight +110 underdogs. The run total is set at 7.5.
Braves-Marlins picks: Tuesday, May 2
Out: RP Raisel Iglesias (shoulder), C Travis d’Arnaud (concussion), SS Orlando Arcia (wrist)
Out: SP Trevor Rogers (forearm), RP JT Chargois (oblique), 2B Joey Wendle (oblique), SP Johnny Cueto (biceps), RP Tommy Nance (shoulder), RP Nic Enright (cancer), RP Anthony Bender (elbow), SP Max Meyer (elbow)
Bryce Elder vs. Sandy Alcantara
Elder’s sparkling ERA seemed like a bit of a mirage, and sure enough, regression bit him hard against Miami last time out. The righty, who hadn’t allowed a homer through his first four starts of the season, allowed three long balls last week, coughing up four runs while striking out just three in 5.1 innings. His slider looks like a legit put-away pitch, with a whiff rate of 32.6%, but both his four-seam fastball and his sinker have been hit so hard that he hasn’t had much of a chance to get to two strikes. Elder already throws his slider nearly 40 percent of the time, but without another weapon to keep hitters off his pedestrian heaters, he should continue to give up loud contact.
Alcantara dealt with a biceps scare early last week, but he looked no worse for wear last time out against Atlanta, earning 20 whiffs while allowing just two runs on four hits in 5.2 innings pitched. The righty has had a bit of a bumpy start to 2023, but his stuff is as explosive as ever, and when his BABIP normalizes he should look awfully like the Cy Young winner of last season.
When these pitchers locked up last week, it resulted in a 6-4 final, and I think we’re headed for the over yet again on Tuesday night. Elder is due to come back to Earth a bit as the league now has the book on how to attack him, while the Braves have held their own against Alcantara over the past couple of years.
Pick: Over 7.5
Unless he makes some drastic changes to his arsenal, I think Elder is more back-end starter than ace, and the Marlins seem to have him figured out after seeing him just a few days ago. Alcantara has been bitten by some bad batted-ball luck this year — especially in his nine-run meltdown against the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this season, which is still inflating his ERA — and I think he’ll look more like his vintage self on Tuesday.