The Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves square off on Saturday with first pitch set for 7:15 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Truist Park in Atlanta and will be available to watch on Fox. The pitching matchup for this 2021 World Series rematch will feature Astros right-hander Cristian Javier and Braves rookie Spencer Strider.
Although the Astros (77-44) lost Friday’s series opener, the top story of their night was the status of MVP candidate Yordan Alvarez. The slugger left the game during the fifth inning after experiencing shortness of breath. He was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and although everything came back OK, he may not be in the lineup tonight. Alex Bregman has been hot at the plate, posting a 1.058 OPS since the All-Star break. Kyle Tucker homered in Friday’s loss and has eight extra-base hits and 14 RBI during his 11-game hitting streak. Javier has limited opposing hitters to a .172 average in three starts this month.
The Braves (74-47) have the third-best record in the National League, even though they trail the Mets by 3.5 games in the NL East. Atlanta has won 10 of its last 11 games, scoring 69 runs during that stretch. Third baseman Austin Riley cracked a big three-run shot in the series opener and now leads MLB with 67 extra-base hits. Outfielder Michael Harris II, the favorite for NL Rookie of the Year per DraftKings Sportsbook (-130), has 15 runs, 10 RBI and a .926 OPS in 17 games this month. Strider is right behind Harris in the NL ROY race (-105). He’s coming off of a win over the Mets in which he allowed only one run and three hits through five innings.
Astros vs. Braves
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Braves -1.5 (+135)
Run total: 7.5
Moneyline odds: Braves -165, Astros +140
Moneyline pick: Braves -165
Both of these squads are still loaded with talent, but the Braves are absolutely clicking on all cylinders right now. The Astros are missing Michael Brantley and possibly Alvarez tonight as well. Expect Strider to dominate for about five innings before giving way to Atlanta’s strong bullpen.
Player prop pick: Spencer Strider under 17.5 outs recorded (-115)
As good as Strider is, the Braves will be careful not to overwork him down the stretch of the regular season now that he has set a career-high in innings, surpassing his 2021 total in the minors. Strider hasn’t lasted more than five innings (15 outs) in four of his previous six starts. With the way Houston’s lineup works counts, his pitch total could rise quickly, leading to another fairly early exit.
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