After opening the season with two straight road series, the Atlanta Braves will return to their home ballpark tonight. The first team the Braves will play host to this season will be the San Diego Padres, and we’ll preview the game before going over my prop play for the action.
Despite being listed as an underdog for the series' last two games, the Braves left St. Louis with a sweep of the Cardinals, bringing their record to 5-1 to start the year. Atlanta got an impressive start from Bryce Elder, who was called up to replace Max Fried. The young righty allowed just two hits over six innings while racking up six strikeouts in the 5-2 win.
Atlanta’s lineup continued their impressive start to the year by picking up ten hits yesterday. The Braves are ranked 6th in the league in batting average and fifth in home runs, with first baseman Matt Olson adding to that total yesterday. This evening the red-hot Braves will send Spencer Strider to the mound. Strider threw six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in his first start of the year and will take on a Padres team that lost their most recent game.
San Diego comes in tonight after getting an off day yesterday. In their most recent series, the Padres split with the Diamondbacks, with the San Diego bullpen blowing the lead late in the game on Tuesday. As a team, the Padres are hitting .234 with nine home runs, with newly acquired shortstop Xander Bogaerts leading the team in both areas.
On the mound tonight for the Padres will be their Opening Day starter, Blake Snell. The lefthander took the loss in that game as he threw 4 ⅓ while allowing three earned runs and striking out nine. Snell didn’t face the Braves last season, so only Kevin Pillar has accumulated more than six at-bats against him.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting Blake Snell over 4.5 hits allowed at (-137). The lefty allowed six hits to the Rockies in his first start and will now take on a Braves team that has recorded ten or more hits in five out of their six games this season. Atlanta has already faced three lefties this season and has gone over this total against two of them, with the most recent being Steven Matz, who they racked up ten hits against.
Snell relied heavily on his four-seam fastball, as it was his most thrown pitch last season, and it was in his first start this year. Opponents hit .255 against his fastball last year, and the Rockies hit .400 against it to start the year. The Braves have shown they can hit anything at the moment, but the entire lineup is stacked with strong fastball hitters.
Six of the Braves' current hitters in their lineup are above league average in barrels per plate appearance percentage, and I think they can drive the ball today against the fastball-heavy Snell. I expect the Braves to come out aggressive in their home opener and continue their strong start to the year.
Blake Snell Over 4.5 Hits Allowed (-137)