MLB Predictions 2012: Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants

The Atlanta Braves (71-55) and San Francisco Giants (71-55) will continue their National League series on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05 ET

Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants 

The Atlanta Braves are starting to fall apart down the stretch for the second consecutive year

Atlanta has lost six of its last seven games and fans can’t help but think about the team’s late-season collapse a year ago, as the club was unable to hold onto a 9.5-game lead in September.  “You can’t think like that,” commented Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.  One of the reasons the club is struggling offensively is catcher Brian McCann going 9-for-56 from the plate with no extra-base hits in August, which has been caused by a right shoulder injury.  Atlanta is 11-6 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season, with the “over” going 10-7 in those contests.

Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (6-10, 4.74 ERA) has suffered three straight losses, allowing seven runs and 21 hits over 20 innings of work in that span.  The left-hander is 2-6 with a 5.91 ERA in 11 road outings, surrendering 17 home runs in 64 combined frames.  In two career efforts versus the Giants, Minor has tallied a 1-0 record and 0.75 ERA, with opposing hitters batting .175 against him.

San Francisco will be attempting to win its season-high sixth straight game, as it comes off a 5-3 victory over Atlanta on Friday night.  The starting rotation has been remarkable over the streak, posting a 5-0 record and 1.80 ERA in that span, while Angel Pagan has carried the offense alongside Buster Posey.  The Giants have won 10 of their last 13 games and hold a three-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings.  San Francisco is 21-8 as a favorite of -150 or more this season.

Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (14-7, 2.83 ERA) has won three of his last four starts, including a 2-1 road victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last outing, allowing four hits in eight shutout innings.  The left-hander is a remarkable 8-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 11 home outings, issuing 17 walks and striking out 76 batters in 81.2 combined frames.  In three career outings versus the Braves, Bumgarner has compiled an 0-2 record and 3.78 ERA, including a 3-2 road setback on July 19.

Sports bettors will likely back the Braves due to their 8-3 mark on the road with a total of 6.5 or less, while the Giants are 1-4 in Bumgarner’s last five efforts against NL East opponents.

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