Braves vs. Diamondbacks Odds, Analysis, Pick: Don’t Back Down on Betting on Arizona (Monday, September 20)

Braves vs. Diamondbacks Odds, Analysis, Pick: Don’t Back Down on Betting on Arizona (Monday, September 20) article feature image
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  • The Braves have been scuffling lately but are facing the lowly Diamondbacks on Monday night.
  • Can the Braves turn it around, or is there value on the underdog Diamondbacks?
  • Michael Arinze breaks down this late night NL matchup below

Braves vs. Diamondbacks Odds

Braves Odds -195
Diamondbacks Odds +165
Over/Under 9
Time 9:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Atlanta Braves are scuffling at the moment with just one win in its last five games. Their offense has almost been nonexistent as they’ve averaged 2.8 runs per game during that stretch. Luckily for them, everyone else in the NL East is struggling as well, so Atlanta’s been able to retain first place in the division.

Ideally, one would think Atlanta should get back to winning ways with a four-game series against an Arizona team that’s the worst in National League. That task will fall to Huascar Ynoa, who will get the start for the Braves. Ynoa got off to a 4-1 start, but he’s lost his last four straight decisions. He’ll be up against Humberto Mejía for the Diamondbacks.

Mejía’s made only two starts this season, and he’s still searching for his first career win since his call-up last season.

It’s hard to get excited about either starter, so we’ll need a deep dive into the numbers to have a chance at getting to the betting window in this matchup.

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Is Ynoa Slowing Down?

There’s always a concern for young pitchers hitting the wall as they accumulate more innings. That might be precisely what Ynoa is experiencing at the moment. In 2020, he pitched 21 2/3 innings. This season, he’s almost quadrupled that with 77 1/3 through 15 games.

I don’t think there’s any question there have been some signs of fatigue — particularly in September. This is his first month of the season, where he’s failed to complete at least six innings in a game.

Overall, he’s 4-5 on the year with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. His advanced numbers only point to a slight regression, as evidenced by his 3.55 FIP and 3.29 xFIP. Nonetheless, there are certainly some qualities to like about the 23-year-old right-hander:

  • He has a 10.01 K/9 ratio.
  • He’s only allowing 2.44 walks per nine innings.
  • His Called Plus Swinging Strike rate (CSW) of 30.5% is elite.
  • He’s done an excellent job of keeping the ball on the ground with a 1.53 GB/FB ratio.

I have no problem buying in Ynoa’s stock. I’m just convinced that he’s exhausted at this point in the season. And because the Braves haven’t taken care of business with building a big enough lead in the standings, they’re forced to trot out him out every fifth day.

Offensively, the Braves are slightly below average on the season with a wRC+ value of 98. However, they’re ranked 12th with a .322 wOBA. Those season-long numbers are quite a contrast to how they’ve performed over the last 30 days as they’re 21st with a wRC+ value of 91 and 19th with a .311 wOBA.

They’ll need to pick things up to take some of the pressure off their young right-hander, who looks fatigued at the moment.


What to Expect from Mejia

With 101 losses on the season, the Diamondbacks only have their pride to play for. Thus, they also might as well give their young arms some experience at the major league level.

Mejía joined the Diamondbacks as part of the Caleb Smith and Julio Frias trade for Starling Marte. He’s in the rotation now so that Arizona can evaluate its prospects for the 2022 season.

While it may look like he was fast-tracked to the majors, the truth is that the reason he made his MLB debut last year with Miami was that the Marlins had more than 15 players on the IL with COVID-19. At the time, Mejía had yet to pitch in both Double-A and Triple-A. The last Marlins pitcher to get that kind of treatment was the late Jose Fernandez.

This season, Mejía did pitch in Triple-A, and he went 5-4 with a 5.93 ERA. He’s made five starts in the majors and is 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP. In his two starts this season, he’s 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. His 4.52 FIP and 4.10 xFIP does suggest he could be due for some positive regression. However, his sample size isn’t nearly large enough for my liking.

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Generally, I’d prefer to use a pitcher’s SIERA numbers as a long-term indicator in these instances. But with three starts last season, that won’t be beneficial either. His scouting report is probably our best tool, and from what I gather, I’m not sure the Diamondbacks see him as a front-end starter. For one, he’s only averaging about 92.3 mph on his fastball (42.9%).

He does throw four other pitches: A sinker (18.8%), a changeup (15.7%), a slider (14.1%), and a curveball (8.4%). Given his mix of five pitches, he could succeed if he pitches backward and features more of his offspeed pitches.

But that’s an entire discussion for another day.

He will have one advantage in the matchup in that Atlanta has never faced him. I’m just not sure if that’s going to be enough.

Braves-Diamondbacks Pick

This game will be the fourth meeting of these teams this season, and not only does Arizona have a 2-1 edge in the series, but it’s also shut out Atlanta 5-0 and 7-0 in the last two meetings. However, that occurred almost five months ago when the Braves got off to a 9-12 start, and the Diamondbacks were actually at .500. Since then, a lot has changed, but that doesn’t mean Arizona should be as high as a +170 home underdog.

My model makes the Diamondbacks’ line closer to +150. Arizona’s coming off a competitive showing on the road against the Astros. Although they lost the series two games to one, both losses were by a one-run margin against the high-powered Astros offense.

If I had to play this game, I’d look to take a shot with the Diamondbacks on the run line. After all, they’ve covered the number in six of their last nine games in this spot.

However, I still feel I need to see more from Mejía before fully committing to backing him. I have a slight lean to Arizona, but this one’s unlikely to make my Monday card.

Lean: Diamondbacks +1.5 Runs (+100)

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