The Rockies woes continue as they welcome the Braves for the first of a four game set. Can these betting line underdogs get back on the right track after dropping nine of their last 11?
Atlanta Braves (42-43, +7.5 units)
The Bravos have won six of their last eight but last night they were on the short end of a 6-5 decision to the Brewers in Milwaukee. They continue their road trip tonight as they take to the field in the thin air of Mile High and look to continue their domination over the Rockies that has seen them post a 10-4 record over the past three seasons returning five units during that 14 game span. Tonight will be their first meeting of the season against Colorado as the Braves pin their hopes on starting pitcher Alex Wood (6-5, 3.34 ERA, 1.41 WHIP).
In his last start Wood was the fortunate recipient of a booming Atlanta offense after being knocked around for 10 hits and allowing four runs in six innings of work on July 4th when the Braves powered past the Phillies 9-5 as -175 favorites in MLB odds. It was a sharp regression from his performance in his previous start when he held the Pirates scoreless over the 7.3 innings he worked en route to a narrow 2-1 victory as +150 road dogs. Wood has never pitched at Coors Field but will need to be sharp as the Rockies boast the 3rd best batting average in the league and are ranked 8th in runs scored.
Colorado Rockies (35-49, -9.5 units)
In the darkness of the Rockies three week slide in which they have dropped 9 of 11 has been the offensive production of young third baseman Nolan Arenado and perennial All-Star Troy Tulowitzki. Arenado had three hits in last night’s 3-2 loss to the Angels and Tulowitzki continues to sizzle with his 20 game hitting streak intact. The Rockies will have to cross their fingers and say a few Hail Mary’s as they send veteran Kyle Kendrick (3-10, 6.00 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) to the hill who ranks near the bottom of the league in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts (4.7) per nine innings.
Kendrick logged a no decision in his last start when he lasted 5.7 innings in Arizona that saw him surrender three earned runs on nine hits in a 4-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. Home cookin’ has not been a recipe for success as the 30-year-old starter has not warmed to his new home in Colorado by getting routinely shelled in the thin air of Mile High. Kendrick owns a 6.70 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP when he pitches in front of the home crowd and those ugly stats could turn downright ghastly if the Braves’ bats come alive. However, if there is a bright spot Kendrick has acquitted himself fairly well when playing Atlanta throughout his career (all in a Philadelphia uniform) owning a 3.54 ERA and a WHIP of 1.26 while producing an 8-4 mark against the Braves.
Nobody likes a live home dog better than I but the Rockies as a team have been playing miserable and Kendrick mirrors those results. In addition Colorado is just 3-14 against left handed starters this season and they will indeed be facing a southpaw when Alex Wood toes the slab tonight. I expect to see the ball jumping which obviously leads me to believe that ‘over’ 10 in MLB odds looks like a very strong possibility despite the fact that we are never truly enthused about going over a double digit total.
As far as a side is concerned we must side with the chalky visitors here. While Alex Wood has not conjured images of Greg Maddux this season he will be tough enough to out-duel his counterpart tonight.