The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles do it all over again on Wednesday with a couple of new starting pitchers on the bump. The NL West looks like the Dodgers’ division to lose, while the Braves are going to have work even harder to repeat as NL East champs.
With the Phillies and Mets improving in the offseason, they’re going to find it a little more difficult to get the divisional crown out east. The Phillies are currently at the top, with the Braves trail in 2nd. The Mets have cooled off considerably, so who knows how much of their early play was real. If they revert back to the offense of 2018, then you can count them out right now.
The Dodgers lost Yasiel Puig in the offseason, but his absence hasn’t hurt the team thus far. In fact, his new team, the Cincinnati Reds, have been sputtering and finding it difficult to get going. They spent a lot of money to finally get a bat to help out Joey Votto, along with the signing of Matt Kemp, but they sit last in the NL Central.
Meanwhile, his former employers are 1st without his services. Puig is a tremendous talent, but he doesn’t come across as much of a team player. Several questionable decisions running the bases and showing up late to games and meetings were part of his deal.
Manny Machado is another lazy talent that is off the roster now. When two players of those caliber are going through the motions, it can kill team morale in the clubhouse. That said, they still went to the World Series, though I think it was win the World Series or bust in Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw will touch the rubber for the Dodgers in this one, while Mike Foltynewicz is expected to counter for the Braves. Head below for our free Braves vs. Dodgers pick.
Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
Everyone was high on Mike Foltynewicz in Atlanta last season, as he had his best season in a career that started in 2014 with the Astros. This is Foltynewicz’s fifth year as a member of the Braves and he finally put in a dominant season in 2018. After posting ERA’s of 5.71, 4.31, and 4.79, he turned it on last season with a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts. That came on suddenly for Foltynewicz, so what are you led to believe? Was that season for real or was more of what we have seen for most of his career more accurate?
He hasn’t looked like the same pitcher from last season, that much we can ascertain in his first two starts of 2019. Note that Foltynewicz is coming off an injury, so he may not be completely healthy and could need time to shake off the rust. In 10.2 innings of play after returning, he’s allowed 6 earned runs and 10 runs in total against the Rockies and Padres. Foltynewicz goes into Wednesday against the Dodgers with an ERA of 5.06 and 1.41 WHIP.
The Dodgers have done quite well against Foltynewicz in his career. Note that they’re hitting .310 with a .408 OBP in 42 at-bats, so this is likely going to be tough for him to keep up with Kershaw here. Kershaw has been dialed in recently, as he will look to frustrate the Braves just like he did last four outings. Kershaw has been strong in particular at home, where he has been sharp with an ERA of 1.93 and 0.64 WHIP. He has been solid against the Braves, as they’ve hit just 1 deep ball and scored 3 runs on him in 79 at-bats. Expect the Dodgers to handle their business on Wednesday behind a strong performance from Kershaw.