Atlanta in the Northwest: Braves travel to Seattle to face Erik Bedard and the Mariners

Atlanta Braves (44-35) AT Seattle Mariners (39-39)
June 27, 2011 at 10:10 PM EST
Opening Line:  SEA -115, ATL -105
Current Line:  SEA -114, ATL -105
Opening Total:  6.5
Current Total:  6.5

SP:  ATL- Brandon Beachy; SEA- Erik Bedard

Bedard's ERA is under 3.00 and he still has a losing record.

The first thing to notice about tonight’s game is its low total.  Both Beachy and Bedard have been hot lately and the Mariners haven’t offered their pitchers much run support, so little in fact that it makes their 39-39 record seem impossible, if not for the fact that they have one of the best staffs in the MLB.

Bedard, like ace Felix Hernandez, doesn’t ask for much when it comes to run support.  His ERA is just a hair below 3.00 and despite that, he still has a losing record at 4-5.  It’s hard to imagine a pitcher succeeding though when the offense is hitting .229 over their last 10 games and have scored 2 runs or less in 8 of those contests.  On a positive note, Bedard is 8-2 in interleague play with a 1.69 ERA in his 17 interleague starts.

On Sunday against the Marlins, the Mariners managed only 2 runs over 10 innings..but it was actually sufficient for a victory as they held Florida to only one run.  The Marlins received a big contribution from rookie 2B Dustin Ackley, who both went 3 of 5 and scored the winning run.  Ackley is hitting .300 and has performed brilliantly on both offense and defense since getting called up just 10 days ago.  Sunday’s matchup was the first of what will likely be many multi-game hits in Ackley’s future.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge has been nothing but impressed, commenting on the obvious implication I just made…”He’ll only get better the longer he’s here.”  Mariners fans and management have to hope that time is longer than what they have managed with prospects in the past.  Alex Rodriguez did, afterall, begin his career a Mariner.

Atlanta pitcher Brandon Beachy, also a rookie, has performed equally as brilliantly as Seattle’s rookie.  He’s 2-1 so far with a 3.22 ERA and in his return Wednesday night against Toronto, he allowed only 1 run in 6 innings while fanning 11 batters.  The one who might know best, Braves catcher Brian McCann, had this to say about Beachy:

“He’s looked good all year…We feel confident when he’s out there. He throws strikes and goes right after hitters. He gives you a chance to win every time he goes out there. You can’t ask for anything more.”

The Braves had a four game win streak going but dropped 2 of 3 in their last series against the San Diego Padres.  While the run support has been good for most of the year, the Braves managed to only get 2 hits in a 10-1 slaughter, despite their starter Tim Hudson pitching six scoreless innings.  Dan Uggla hasn’t helped that cause all season and he went 0 of 4 to pull his batting average down even further to the worst in the National League at .177.  And it’s not just his inability to get hits; he’s not drawing walks either.  His OBP is .244

Some betting trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Atlanta’s lat 7 games and the Braves are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games.  The total has gone OVER In 5 of the Braves’ last 7 games on the road and the Braves are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games on the road.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 6 games the Braves have played in Seattle.

The total has gone UNDER in all 5 of Seattle’s last 5 games and they are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games.  The total has gone UNDER in 5 of their last 5 home games, as well, while the Mariners are 12-6 SU in their last 18 games at home.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Seattle’s last 6 games against the Braves.

As mentioned in the onset, the total is low for this one and it has all the makings of a true pitcher’s duel…It’s hard to say which pitcher has the upper hand given the fact that Beachy has so little experience, but has been so very good in what we have actually seen so far.  The Braves have a more potent offense, however, and the betting lines are near even.

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