MLB Picks: Trends Suggest Fading Braves As Home Fave Over Reds

Monday, June 13, 2016 2:56 PM GMT

In a matchup of two truly awful teams, at least Daniel Wright pitched commendably his only start while the Braves’ Aaron Blair has been awful, making the Reds the MLB pick.

 

MLB Record: 37-34-2, +5.66
The tiny underdogs appear to hold a bit of value in a matchup of two of the very worst teams in baseball Monday night when Daniel Wright and the Cincinnati Reds (24-39, 7-20 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Aaron Blair and the Atlanta Braves (18-44, 7-25 home) in the first game of a four-game series from Turner Field in Atlanta, GA at 7:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southeast.

The posted money line at Heritage Sports has Cincinnati as a tiny road underdog for this contest at current MLB odds of -102.

Worst Record in Major Leagues
The Braves were expected to struggle in this rebuilding year for them and those predictions have indeed come to fruition. In fact, Atlanta has the worst record in all of baseball at 18-44, and almost unfathomably the Braves are an unheard of 7-25 here at home! Their latest skid has them entering this contest as losers of eight of their last 10 games.

The Braves are not the only last place team in this game as while Atlanta is in the National League East basement, the Reds are bring up the rear in the National League Central at 24-39. Still, there is no doubt that Cincinnati has the better talent between these two teams and at least the Reds are showing a pulse by coming off of a 5-4 home stand that included being the winning MLB picks in two out of three games vs. both the Washington Nationals and Oakland A's.

On-The-Job Training Not Going Well
Knowing that this would basically be a throwaway season, the Braves have opted to rush up a lot of youngsters to the big club probably before they were fully ready for the majors with the intent of giving them some on-the-job training that could bode well for them in the future. That includes tonight's starting pitcher Blair, and in his case the results have been downright brutal.

The 24-year-old Blair is still seeking his first Major League win as he is 0-4 after eight starts with a hideous 7.13 ERA and 1.84 WHIP over 35.1 innings with Atlanta going 1-7 as a team in the games that he has started. And it is easy to see why Blair has been so terrible, as he has had no command of the strike zone with more walks (21) than strikeouts (20) to this point!

That works out to just 5.09 strikeouts vs. a distressing 5.35 walks per nine innings resulting in a 5.91 xFIP, and he is facing a Cincinnati offense that has actually perked up over the last 10 games, batting .277 while averaging 5.40 runs during this span.

Wright Has Been “Less Bad” So Far
Now the Reds were expected to be a bit better this year after going 64-98 last season with an injury-riddled team, but that has not been the case so far as last year now does not look like a fluke. Regardless, we still do not feel that Cincinnati deserves to be a small underdog or close to a Pick'em vs. what really is the worst team in the majors.

Wright pitched just 4.2 innings in relief before making his only start of the season May 24th vs. the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and although he was not great, he was not horrendous either allowing three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts vs. one walk in 5.1 innings. Granted Wright has a limited Major League sampling, but only once in four minor league seasons did he walk more than 2.00 batters per nine innings while striking out at least 7.55 per nine each year.

And not to be cruel, but is there really a significant difference between the Atlanta lineup these days outside of Freddie Freeman and a Triple-A lineup?

Trouble Winning in Atlanta
Finally, the struggles of the Braves at home extend back into last season as they are now an atrocious 16-40 in their last 56 games at Turner Field! The Braves are also 21-48 in their last 69 games vs. right-handed starters overall while the Reds have actually managed to go 54-24 in their last 78 games vs. teams with a winning percentage below .400.

It is usually a good idea to fade the Braves at a cheap price whenever possible these days in any event, so look for those trends to continue and back Cincinnati in the series opener at Atlanta on Monday.

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Free MLB Pick: Cincinnati Reds -102
Best Line Offered: at Heritage