First pitch: 12:08 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Trevor Bauer (5-4, 1.73 ERA) vs. Max Fried (7-0, 2.25 ERA)
Cincinnati Reds vs. Atlanta Braves Predictions
There’s only one call to make here: under.
I may be a little biased, as both Trevor Bauer and Max Fried have been Zylbert Guys since the very beginning of their respective careers (even predicted early in Bauer’s career that he’d win a Cy Young one day). No matter what, though, the performance of each in this once-in-a-lifetime season should further entrench them as frontline MLB starting pitchers.
They’re certainly both frontrunners as far as this year’s National League Cy Young Award goes — though Bauer might be barely ahead. He did post the NL’s lowest ERA (1.73) and WHIP (0.79), after all, while also finishing with the third highest strikeout rate (12.3 K/9) in all of baseball. Additionally, he finished with a microscopic batting average against of .179 (!), the lowest of all qualified starters.
Fried wasn’t far behind, going undefeated in 11 starts (7-0) and notching a 2.25 ERA. Hitters managed only a .211 mark off him.
The more challenging part of this bet may be getting a useful outing from Fried, due to him potentially being a little rusty from making only two starts (six innings total) dating back to the beginning of the month. However, I still think he can thrive.
This matchup is a favorable one for the 26-year-old southpaw. The Reds weren’t good against left-handed pitching this year, finishing tied for fifth-from-the-bottom in team OPS (.667) opposite left-handers. Not only that, they were one of three clubs in the bigs with a collective team batting average versus lefties that was at the Mendoza Line (.200) or below.
Above everything, Fried is fine physically after having to depart his last start of the season due to an ankle issue, which he’s since been cleared off. Fried at 100 percent — and pitching in Atlanta where he’s typically been better compared to on the road — will be successful in this spot.
That’s what could be said of Bauer in any scenario, especially after how he has paced all Major League pitchers post-COVID. He’s done it with dominant consistency, yielding no more than a single run in all but two of his 12 starts this season. That means worst-case scenario, Bauer can still keep us in a position to win. But I don’t see him faltering in a big game.
You shouldn’t overthink this one. The reputation of the starters will be justified.
MLB Leans - September 30
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*
Regular season: “19-42-4,” -28.91 units
Postseason: 1-0, +1 unit
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (postseason 0.5 unit except first one)