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MLB Free Pick: Rockies vs Braves

August 16, 2018

The Atlanta Braves host the Colorado Rockies on Thursday for the first of four games that run through Sunday. The Braves are coming off a sweep at home of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins and hold a two-game lead at the top of the National League East.

Odds maker have the game EVEN with both teams at -105 with a run total of 8.5

Atlanta will be on edge entering this game as Ronald Acuna Jr., who homered in five straight games, was hit with the game’s first pitch thrown by Miami’s Jose Urena, which sparked a dugout clearing incident and one inning later the 20-year old Acuna left the game. Acuna’s status is unknown for Thursday’s game.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hit a home run on Wednesday for his second in the last four days which includes six RBIs over that stretch as well.

The four-game winning streak Colorado had was snapped on Wednesday after the Rockies were routed by Houston 12-1. Colorado will now go on the road for 10 of their next 16 games. Third baseman Nolan Arenado had two hits Wednesday and has hit .321 over his last 16 games played.

Rockies pitching has been a bit rocky allowing 10 hits or more in five of the last eight games, after allowing six runs in three prior games. The Rockies allowed nine hits for extra bases on Wednesday.

Colorado will start Jon Gray on the mound. The right-hander is 9-7 with a 4.81 ERA. Gray did not pitch well the majority of the first half of this season, with a 5.76 ERA prior to being demoted to Triple-A in late June. After his return to the big leagues, Gray has given up only five earned runs across 29.1 innings over his first four outings, with two wins. But in his most recent outing, Gray allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Atlanta will counter Gray with Julio Teheran. The right-hander is 8-7 with a 4.33 ERA. Teheran’s inconsistent season stabilized somewhat over his last three outings as his ERA has been 3.78 while posting a record of 1-0 over that span, with 16 Ks in 16 2/3 innings pitched. Teheran gave up two hits and one run while striking out six against Milwaukee on Saturday but ended with a no-decision. Teheran in his career is 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA across nine starts against Colorado.

Prediction: Atlanta beat Colorado in two of three games in April at Coors Field getting 27 hits and scoring 14 runs in the series. The Braves are fired up after the beaning of their leftfielder Acuna Jr. Braves will take this game 6-3.

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