Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 AM EST.
7:05 PM EST. Why stop now? After defeating the Nationals 8-0 in the opener and 8-2 last night against Max Scherzer, the Braves are once again being offered a big price and there’s no reason not to grab it. Again, the Nationals have the Dodgers in this weekend in a much anticipated series while the Braves are completely focused on the task at hand. With injuries to Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy (neck), the Nats lineup looks so much less threatening while the Braves have several hot hitters in their lineup that will face Tanner Roark.
In 27 starts, Roark is 12-9 with a 4.48 ERA. Tanner Roark’s season has been a tale of two seasons. He provided no value in the first half (5.27 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 5.44 xERA) but he has totally changed course in the second half in which his stats have been great (3.05 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). His aggregate skills have improved dramatically, too with 9.8 K’s/9, 3.2 BB’s/9, 54% grounders. However, we’re not going to put heavy emphasis on a pitcher that caught fire for a while. While Roark’s underlying skills have been good since the All-Star break, he’s just 5-6 at home with a 5.03 ERA. He’s also been outmaneuvering his pedestrian peripherals to put up decent numbers for three years prior. These skills are fringe-average, he's now 30, and his control is regressing. A reliability grade notwithstanding, Tanner Roark’s first-pitch strike rate last game was 50% and his groundball/line-drive/fly-ball split was 26%/26%/47%. He’ll now face an Atlanta team that puts the ball in play, which is why the Braves are such an appealing pup. It may surprise you to learn that the Braves have struck out the fewest times in the NL.
Meanwhile, Mike Foltynewicz has shown flashes of his vast potential, but he has been plagued by inconsistency, struggles against left-handed batters and WHIP fluctuations. He has also reportedly been working to better keep his emotions in check when on the mound, as that has been a problem for him at times—whether it’s frustration with outcomes or with ball/strike calls. Foltynewicz’s is however, on a good run right now with a 3.65/3.77 ERA/xERA over his last three starts after a rough August. This is a young starter with very good stuff that is not out target here. We’ve going after the Nationals this series and we’re not stopping now with the Dodgers arriving tomorrow. Washington has bigger fish to fry.
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Atlanta +158 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.16)