Saturday’s MLB Match-up: Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves (74-52) host the Arizona Diamondbacks (69-56) for Game 2 of a three-game series between the two playoff contenders. After last night’s 4-2 victory for the Braves, the Diamondbacks now find themselves looking to get out of a three-game losing skid, after winning seven games in a row. With most of their wins coming against sub-.500 teams, Arizona will need to step up against real competition like the Braves in order to cling to their 2 1/2 game lead in the NL West over the San Francisco Giants.

Tonight’s pitching match-up features an interesting match-up between a pair of 24-year olds, as Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43 ERA) faces Wade Miley (0-0, 0.00 ERA), with the latter pitcher making his major league debut tonight.

Miley has the task of filling the shoes of the injured Jason Marquis, and has been fairly strong in Triple-A play at Reno this season with a 4-1 record and a 3.64 ERA while recording a strikeout per inning. Though it’s a different dance in the big leagues, Arizona’s 2010 minor league pitcher of the year has good control and an ability to strike out batters that could bode well for the rookie while facing MLB opposition that hasn’t seen him before.

Brandon Beachy on the other hand looks to stay the course, coming in with a 2-0 record while sporting a 2.67 ERA in his last 5 outings. He’ll look to improve his record at home, only 2-0 over 8 starts there this season, while helping the Braves to pick up their 7th win in their last 9 games.

Betting lines for online sportsbook wagering on Atlanta vs. Arizona:

Atlanta is a -180 favorite to win at home at Intertops Sportsbook. Odds have moved to -178 at Bodog Sportsbook, down from -190, while Arizona stands as a +160 underdog at Intertops Sportsbook, and a +163 underdog at Bodog.

The over/under for tonight’s match-up stands at 7 1/2 runs, with -120 given for the over wager, and EVEN money taking the under bet.

Our Pick to Win:

With a rookie pitcher on the mound, there’s a bigger variable for tonight’s game, with some favoring to take a rookie as an underdog wager hoping that the opposing team will need time to adjust, and others banking on the favorite, especially against a hot team like Atlanta. With the Braves in control of the Wild Card and always strong on the mound at home, we’ll look towards Atlanta to pick up the win, and cover the points spread at 1 1/2 runs at a +120 price.

Players to Watch, Atlanta:

Michael Bourn, CF – Since coming over to Atlanta, Bourn has been fantastic. He’s hitting .333 over the past month, with 10 stolen bases, 15 runs scored and 11 RBIs. He comes off a rare night with a home run, going 2-for-4 last night against Daniel Hudson to chip in for the Braves’ victory.

Chipper Jones, 3B – The veteran Jones has hit .405 (15-for-37) in the month of August, with 3 homers and 9 RBIs. He’s hitting 4-for-11 against Arizona this season (.364), and will look to continue his hot streak tonight at home to improve on his .325 lifetime batting average against AZ.

Players to Watch, Arizona:

Justin Upton, RF – Upton graces the PTW for every featured match-up, as he’s the focal point of the Arizona offense. However, he’s needing to return to form coming off a .217 week hitting, and has struggled against Atlanta this season with a .214 average. Against the rookie Miley today, hopefully for the Dbacks he’ll continue to improve on last night’s 1-4 outing, with a 2-run double being the Dbacks only offensive production.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B – cycling into the lineup in place of Lyle Overbay, Goldschmidt is one hot rookie hitter going 6-for-15 in his last 7 games with 2 homers and 4 RBIs. He’s hitting .292 for August, and should get the start in today’s lineup after sitting out Friday.

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