With nine victories over the last ten games, it is only fair to say that Atlanta is the most in-form team in the MLB and the overwhelming favorite to win tonight. Houston is at the opposite end of form and with just three victories over the last 32 games, the Astros have set a new negative record for themselves. Winning at Turner Field is most unlikely and all the hints point towards a comfortable home victory.
Bet: Atlanta Braves Run Line -1,5
Odds: bet365 2.00
The Braves took the opening game without breaking a sweat, and Houston didn’t find a way of defeating Hudson and their chances are even worse tonight against Maholm. Even though the starting pitcher lost six decisions in 2012, Paul is one of the hottest players in the majors. It all began before the All-Star game when Maholm won five consecutive games for Chicago and somehow he managed to carry this success to Atlanta. Against a toothless offensive such as the one displayed by the Astros, he should have it easy to add his tenth victory.
A bright spot in the rotation
Houston’s pitching staff is an absolute disaster and this includes both starters and relievers, but Lucas Harrell is a notable exception. It was him who carried the Astros to a rare victory in July and he needs to be just as sharp tonight against Atlanta, if the visitors are to have a chance. The problem with Harrell is that he is unable keep his game at the highest level for more than a few innings and the longer he spends on the mound, the less accurate his pitches are.
Atlanta has everything going its way, so the fact that they have an excellent pitcher on the field from the first inning is just a bonus. The offensive is clicking and Chipper Jones doesn’t show his age, in fact the 40 year old player is scoring game after game and has an extraordinary percentage in the series played against Houston. The Braves have plenty of weapons in their arsenal to close the game early, but it is refreshing to know that even if the game drags, the bullpen will close the deal for them.
This looks like a David vs Goliath fight, with the Astros being cornered and simply struggling to stay afloat in a one-sided game. Atlanta won the last six consecutive games against Houston and with Maholm pitching the way he does, we are looking at a comfortable home win, most likely at two or more runs difference.