Atlanta Braves +122 at Miami Marlins -132 (Total: 8.5)
Mark Minor vs. Mark Buehrle
The National League East, much like its counterpart in the American League, is turning into one of the more competitive and high quality divisions we’ve ever seen through two months. Excepting the Phillies recent four-game slide which dropped them to 28-29, every team in both respective East’s is over .500, and no team is more than 3 ½ games out of first place.
Tonight, two of the teams in the mix face off in the final game of a three game set with the Marlins trying to salvage a game at home against struggling young pitcher Mark Minor, who will be taking the mound against veteran Mark Buehrle. Buehrle has been solid for the Marlins, but far from the ace they hoped they were acquiring, especially given the added success many pitchers have when moving from the American to the National League. He is just 6-5 with a 3.53 ERA, but has been a little rocky in his last three outings. His record of 2-1 is fine, but his 4.50 ERA leaves a little to be desired.
Minor on the other hand, has been an outright disaster this season and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. He is one of the prize young arms in the Braves organization, and they are appropriately reluctant to send him down to the minors, but you have to wonder how many more brutal outings he can endure before their hand is forced. He is 2-4 with a 6.98 ERA and his last three starts have been even worse, going 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA and a WHIP of 1.67. He has lasted just 15 2/3 innings in his three starts, which not only digs the Braves a hole on the scoreboard, but also taxes their bullpen significantly.
I don’t see Minor snapping out of it tonight either. It is hard to sweep a major league baseball team, and especially difficult to shut down a good offense three games in a row in their home ballpark. The Marlins have scored one run in the first two games of the series, but are averaging close to four runs on the season and are facing a guy who is struggling worse than anyone else in the National League tonight.
To make things even more enticing for the Marlins wager, the Braves will be without Freddie Freeman, who left last night’s game after being hit in the hand with a pitch. That means no Chipper and no Freddie, which also translates into “no offense.”
Give me the Marlins tonight at home to grab a series-salvaging win.
Free Pick: Miami Marlins to WIN -132