Both the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds are four games out in their respective divisions, but each situation is very different. If the Braves can at least continue to keep pace with the Phillies, then they give themselves a great chance to make the playoffs. The Cincinnati Reds are trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central by four games. But the Reds are trailing in the worst division in baseball, and that means that if the Reds want to make the playoffs, then they are going to have to win the division. The Braves will be sending Derek Lowe to the mound for this game, and Atlanta is extremely anxious to get Lowe winning again. The veteran pitcher is 6-7 this year with a 4.37 ERA. He is way off his pace of 16-12 last year, and may finally be showing signs that age has deteriorated his arm. In his last two starts, Lowe is 1-1. But he has given up a total of 18 hits and eight runs in those two games. He is definitely struggling, and Cincinnati will look to exploit that. Homer Bailey takes the mound for Cincinnati, and while his first name is not an ideal one for a pitcher, he is doing quite well this season. Bailey is 4-4 with a 3.74 ERA. His last start was a seven and a third inning win over the St. Louis Cardinals where he allowed only one run on three hits. But he was 0-4 in the five starts previous to that, and has shown signs of inconsistency. Reds are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a favorite, are 4-0 in Baileys last 4 starts as a home favorite of -110 to -150, and are 17-5 in Baileys last 22 home starts. Braves are 5-11 in the last 16 meetings in Cincinnati. At this point in the season, it is all about the team that wants it the most. Pick: Cincinnati Reds
I’m siding with the Cincinnati Reds Thursday to build off of their huge 9-8 victory in 13 innings over the St. Louis Cardinals last night. They blew and 8-run lead, but found a way to dig deep and get the victory. That’s the kind of win that can certainly get a team going. The Reds know that if they want to gain some ground in the NL Central, the best way to do it would be to take a series from a team ahead of them in the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee is struggling right now, going 2-7 in their last nine games overall while scoring 3 runs or less in six of those contests.
Homer Bailey is 3-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.167 WHIP in 7 starts this season for Cincinnati. Chris Narveson is 5-5 with a 4.86 ERA and 1.433 WHIP in 17 outings this year for Milwaukee. Narveson is 0-3 with an 8.15 ERA and 1.529 WHIP in four career starts against the Reds. Just this season alone, Narveson has allowed 12 earned runs, 2 home runs and 16 base runners over 6 1/3 innings in his two starts against Cincinnati. The Reds are hitting .286 and scoring 5.8 RPG against left-handed starters this year. Take Cincinnati Thursday.
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