MLB Picks 6/17 – Colorado Rockies @ Atlanta Braves
By Thomas Quaynor
The Colorado Rockies (29-43) are on the road facing the Atlanta Braves (43-26) in the third of a four-game set this afternoon. Atlanta won last night’s game 8-1 as backup catcher Travis D’Arnaud hit two home runs. Atlanta has outscored Colorado 16-4 in the first two games of this series and has won 4 in a row, while Colorado has lost 3 in a row. Tonight’s starting pitchers are Connor Seabold (1-2, 4.70 ERA) for Colorado and Bryce Elder (4-1, 2.69 ERA) for Atlanta.
Moneyline: Colorado +265, Atlanta -330
Run Line: Colorado +1.5 (+126), Atlanta -1.5 (-152)
Run Total: over 9.5 (-110) under 9.5 (-110)
The Colorado Rockies occupy last place in the National League West with a 29-43 record and are well on their way to a fifth consecutive losing season. Colorado won their first two games of the season and its been all downhill ever since as injuries to key offensive players and inconsistent pitching will likely result in another terrible season.
Colorado’s top three hitters, outfielder Charlie Blackmon, first baseman C.J. Cron and right fielder Kris Bryant are all on the injured the list. The 36-year-old, 4-time All-Star Blackmon has been on the IR since early June with a fractured hand. Blackmon has played his entire 13-year career in Colorado, he’s hitting .256 with 5 homers and 26 RBI across 56 games.
C.J. Cron has been out since mid-May with a back injury that has limited him to just 36 games this season. He did contribute 6 homers and 20 RBI in the short amount of time he’s been on the field and is coming off a career year where he hit .257 along with 29 HR and a career-high 102 RBI across 150 games. The oft-injured Kris Bryant was placed on the IR with a bruised left heel on June 1. The 4-time All-Star and 2016 National League MVP hasn’t played more than 100 games in a season since 2019.
As for healthy Rockies players, third baseman Ryan McMahon (.271, 10 HR 38 RBI), catcher Elias Diaz (.300, 7 HR 34 RBI) and 21-year-old star rookie Ezequiel Tovar (.255, 6 HR 30 RBI) have been the most consistent performers this season. Tovar was Colorado’s top minor league prospect and provides some hope for Colorado’s future.
The Atlanta Braves have the second-best record in baseball at 44-26, they’ve won 4 in a row and 11 of their last 13. Atlanta has a 5-game lead over the second place Miami Marlins in the National League East and are well on their way to a 6th straight NL East division crown. When you look at young, talented core of star hitters and starting pitchers they are situated to be a championship-level team for the foreseeable future in a similar fashion to the mighty 1990’s/early 2000’s Braves teams who won 15 straight (1991-2005) National League East division titles.
Superstar right-fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is having an MVP season as he’s batting .327 with 15 homers and 45 RBI, along with 30 stolen bases. The 25-year-old three-time All-Star is back performing at peak levels after a July 2021 torn ACL limited his production last season. Acuna Jr. is on pace to hit 30 homers and steal 50 bases this season, he’d be the third player in MLB history to achieve the mark, Cincinnati’s Eric Davis in 1987 and Pittsburgh’s Barry Bonds in 1990 were the other two.
Second baseman Ozzie Albies (.260, 15 HR 47 RBI), first baseman Matt Olson (.228, 19 HR 46 RBI) and catcher Sean Murphy (.285, 12 HR 42 RBI) are also having excellent seasons for Atlanta. Albies is batting .375 with 4 homers over his last 11 games. Olson and Murphy starred in Oakland before ownership jettisoned them to Atlanta in an effort to rebuild or possibly sabotage the franchise.
Atlanta is one of the better teams in baseball playing at home against inferior competition, take Atlanta on the run line!
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