The Atlanta Braves take on the Cleveland Guardians in the first game of a three-game series on Monday, July 3. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET from Progressive Field. It’ll be a battle of star rookies on the mound, as Bryce Elder (6-1, 2.44 ERA) goes for the Braves against top Guardians prospect Gavin Williams (0-0, 2.84) in his third MLB start.
Atlanta enters as the -145 moneyline favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Cleveland coming in at +125. The total is set at 9.
Braves-Guardians picks: Monday, July 3
Out: RP Dylan Lee (shoulder), SP Max Fried (forearm), RP Jesse Chavez (lower leg), SP Kyle Wright (shoulder), SS Ehire Adrianza (shoulder), SP Huascar Ynoa (elbow), RP Tyler Matzek (elbow)
Out: SP Triston McKenzie (elbow), SP Peyton Battenfield (shoulder)
Bryce Elder vs. Gavin Williams
Elder has been very solid in his last few starts, lasting six or more innings and allowing two earned runs or less over his last three outings. In 19 innings over that span, the sinkerballer has struck out 14 batters and allowed just 11 hits.
Williams has made two starts since getting his much-anticipated call to the bigs last month. He began with a 5.2-inning start against Oakland in which he conceded four earned runs and recorded four strikeouts. He then went seven innings against the Royals, keeping them runless and striking out six batters.
Elder should be able to keep the Guardians in check as he works to get his ERA back under 2.00, but it’s hard to tell how Williams will fare against the Braves. The rookie has been solid thus far, but he’s been pitching against some of the worst offenses in baseball. If the Braves get going against Williams, it’s going to be hard to stop the bleeding.
Pick: Over 9
This is by far the best lineup that Williams has faced this season, and the Braves are 9-1 over their last 10 games. As they put Elder, one of the best pitchers in the league, up against a rookie, Atlanta should have this win locked in. Cleveland has a winning record at home, but stopping a team with this kind of momentum will be a serious challenge.