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Reds vs Braves – 8/1/19 MLB Pick, Odds, and Predictions

Cincinnatti Reds vs Atlanta Braves, Thursday August 1, 2019 (7:20pm et) Current Odds: Braves -155 Total Runs 9.5

Atlanta’s troublesome bullpen will have a markedly different look when the Braves return home Thursday to begin a brief four-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds.

The starting pitchers in the series opener feature Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (11-4, 4.21) against Cincinnati’s Anthony DeSclafani (6-5, 4.01). It will be the final series between the two clubs, who haven’t met since April, when the Reds won two of three.

The Braves went 4-2 on a road trip to Philadelphia and Washington and lead the division by 6 1/2 games. Cincinnati has won three of its last four and seven of its last 11 games.

The N.L. East-leading Braves acquired three relievers — Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin — on Wednesday, as general manager Alex Anthopoulos was dealing until the trade deadline to help strengthen what had become a huge liability.

The Atlanta bullpen allowed grand slams in back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday, both losses, and has blown 18 save opportunities this season.

The overtaxed bullpen blew another on Wednesday, giving up a three-run lead in the ninth at Washington. But Atlanta salvaged a win when Josh Donaldson homered in the 10th.

The Braves got a closer when they acquired Greene from Detroit in exchange for left-hander Joey Wentz, the organization’s No. 7 prospect, and Travis Demeritte, a Triple-A infielder-outfielder. Greene is 0-2 with a 1.18 ERA in 38 games, with 22 saves in 25 chances.

Melancon, who had to waive a no-trade clause, and Martin are right-handers slated to work in a setup or middle-inning role. The Braves acquired Melancon (4-2, 3.50) in exchange for right-handed reliever Dan Winkler, who has split time between Atlanta and Triple-A Gwinnett, and Tristan Beck, the team’s No. 17 prospect.

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Martin (0-2, 3.08) came to the Braves at the expense of left-hander Kolby Allard, the team’s No. 1 pick from 2015 and No. 10 prospect.

“We’ve been following (Martin),” Anthopoulos said. “Obviously, we’ve been active on the relief market. Chris might not be as well-known as the others with longer track records and careers, but we felt he had as much upside as anybody in the trade market.”

The Reds were also busy at the deadline. After dealing outfielder Yasiel Puig to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Trevor Bauer on Tuesday, Cincinnati shipped right-hander Tanner Roark to the Oakland A’s for outfield prospect Jameson Hannah and cash.

The Reds also sent second baseman Scooter Gennett to San Francisco for a player to be named. Cincinnati reinstated reliever David Hernandez (right shoulder fatigue) from the injured list.

Outfielder Jesse Winker was excited to hear the news about Bauer. “That’s a legit ace,” he said. “We already had a really, really legit pitching staff, and now it got even better.”

DeSclafani is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four career starts against the Braves, but hasn’t faced them since 2016. He pitched five-plus innings against Colorado in his most recent start on Saturday and allowed one run.

Fried will be making his first career start against the Reds. He is 0-1 and allowed three runs over one combined inning in two relief appearances. In his last start, he beat the Phillies and gave up five runs, four earned, in 5 1/3 innings.

411Winners Pick and Prediction: Braves -1.5 +120

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