After taking 2 of 3 from the Miami Marlins, the Braves are now 52-39 on the season, and they are currently 5 games up on the Washington Nationals for the NL East lead. Coming in town to face them are the Cincinnati Reds, who are 51-40 and 5 games back in the NL Central. Just goes to show you how different the divisions are.
The Reds have recently been known for offense, probably because of their hitter-friendly home park, but they're middle of the pack in runs scored - 13th in the majors and 4 runs behind the Braves. Joey Votto (.318/.431/.506) and Shin-Soo Choo (.277/.418/.455) get things started for the Reds, but luckily for the Braves, the Reds give out charity too - Zack Cozart (.230/.261/.358) continues to hit second in the order. The only remaining position players that are having solid seasons are Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce, but they are all currently worth around 2 wins according to FanGraphs, making them All-Star quality. While the Reds and Braves are similar in offensive effectiveness, they are constructed quite differently as the Braves have few holes but no All-Stars and the Reds have several All-Star quality players but holes in LF, SS, C that are replacement-level.
Where the Reds are really excelling - again, like the Braves - is through the pitching staff, ranking 4th overall in the majors in ERA (3.39). Mike Leake's 2.69 ERA leads the team, but Mat Latos and Homer Bailey are their best pitchers when looking at their peripherals and how likely they are to sustain their success moving forward. After that, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and Tony Cingrani have teamed up for the remaining starts and have ERAs in the mid-3s. The Reds bullpen retains the prowess of Aroldis Chapman and a helping hand from Sam LeCure, but re-signing Jonathan Broxton - shocker alert - has been a terrible idea. The Reds bullpen is solid overall, but there's potential to score runs off them if the Braves get to them early enough.
Thursday, July 11, 7:10 PM on Sports South and MLB Network
Friday, July 12, 7:30 PM on FOX Sports South and MLB Network
Saturday, July 13, 4:05 PM on FOX Sports South
Sunday, July 14, 1:35 PM on FOX Sports South