Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers, 4:30 first pitch
Pitching Probable’s: Morton (ATL) vs. Burnes (MIL)
The first game of the NL Division Series kicks off this evening as the Brewers welcome the Braves to contend with their behemoth of a pitching staff. The Brew Crew took the NL Central in dominate fashion this year, with really no one giving them a fight. The Braves did the opposite fighting tooth and nail down to the final week of the season: first with the Mets then following their almost ritualist late season collapse, the Phillies. As always feel free to comment on social and let @SportsShiftMedia know your thoughts.
Milwaukee stormed their way to a playoff berth largely uncontested thanks to their starting rotation. Led by the duel-headed aces Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, the staff compiled an ERA of 3.07 with three every day starters posting sub-3 ERAs, sub-1 WHIPS and striking out 195+. There are not enough words to describe how incredible this is. The offense struggled at times with a banged up Christian Yelich leading the charge. While certainly dangerous at times this is in all probability the only pause for concern. Avisail Garcia had a team high 29 homeruns and 86 RBI. Only one other Brewer eclipsed the 60 RBI mark – Luis Urias with 75.
The Braves road to the 2021 NL East crown was odd to say the least. Season ending injuries to super-star Ronald Acuna Jr and young stud Mike Soroka set the squad back early. The saving grace ended up being the Mets inability to build any real lead and the absolutely stellar trade deadline moves made by GM Alex Anthopoulos. The acquisitions of Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler turned out to arguably be the moves of the year. Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley having monster second half’s to go along with Ozzie Albies’ unexpected 30 homer / 106 RBI season certainly didn’t hurt either.
On the Bump
Charlie Morton and his comically unhittable curveball will strut to the mound tonight for the Bravos. Morton played the role of Mr. Consistent this season with a respectable 3.34 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. His 33 games started and 185 innings tossed were a breath of fresh air every fifth day for a club without a big name bullpen arm or deep rotation options.
The Brewers will counter Morton with Corbin Burnes. Burnes posted an NL best 2.43 ERA while leading with 234 strikeouts. Burnes walks nearly no-one, with only 34 issued through 167 IP. The Cy Young favorite is a nightmare for opposing lineups. The right-hander faced Atlanta once this season, giving up five runs in only a four-inning outing.
FanDuel: Brewers -156, Braves +132
The pregame cover sits where expected; however, the outright odds seem very low considering just how dominate Burnes has been this year. This is a rare spot where we like the pregame odds
Toss a bone to the Brewers as outright winners today. The low -156 can almost certainly be attributed to the club dropping five of their last six to end the regular season. Although Burnes had one of his lesser outings in his start against the Braves, the Brewers still won that game.
The over/under for both starters is high considering Morton is generally not a large volume K-artist, and we’ve seen one (Nathan Eovaldi) starter get over that 7 strikeout hump so far this Postseason. Burnes is a K machine, no question about it. However, starters just aren’t going deep into games anymore.
Take the under on both Burnes (8.5) and Morton’s (6.5) strikeout totals. We simply do not see the starters getting deep enough into the game to reach these totals. Consider a sprinkle on the first inning results as a draw as well. Neither offense is particularly terrifying and both starters tend to do well enough early.
This is an odd game where there isn’t much we feel is must have or great value. The only big time taker for us sits with the Brewers as outright winners.
The Brewers and Braves will almost certainly be tough on bettors for the entirety of the series. Consider waging low on this and bulking up on other games down the line.