Braves vs. Yankees MLB Odds & Picks: Atlanta’s Hitters Will Rebound Against Kluber (Wednesday, April 21)

Braves vs. Yankees MLB Odds & Picks: Atlanta’s Hitters Will Rebound Against Kluber (Wednesday, April 21) article feature image
Credit:

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Kluber.

  • Corey Kluber and the New York Yankees will take on Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
  • Kluber has looked nothing like his former Cy Young self, and the Braves' lineup has been known to pose problems for some pitchers tasked with facing it.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick below.

Braves vs. Yankees Odds

Braves Odds +105
Yankees Odds -122
Over/Under 9 (-104/-118)
Time 6:35 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings.

Two of the best teams in baseball take center stage on Wednesday night as the Braves battle the Yankees in the second of a two-game series.

Atlanta is off to a bad start to the season after coming within one game of the World Series in 2020. The Braves are below .500 and are looking for their starting pitchers to finally get some good fortune. Atlanta’s starters have combined for a 5.61 ERA but have a 3.46 xFIP, so they are due for some positive regression.

The Yankees are off to quite possibly the worst start possible, as they are in dead last in the AL East through the first part of the season.

The problem for New York is its supposedly powerful lineup has been incredibly quiet throughout to start the season. Now, it has to face one of the best young pitchers in baseball in Ian Anderson, so the Yankees’ offensive woes could continue on Wednesday.

Offensive Matchup

Atlanta Braves

The Braves absolutely mashed right-handed pitching and fastballs last season, putting up a .363 wOBA and 126 wRC+, which was the best mark in baseball.

Atlanta was also the best hitting team against cutters in 2020, which will give it a big advantage against Corey Kluber since that’s his go-to pitch. His velocity with it is also way down, and he’s struggled with it through his first three starts, allowing a .376 wOBA to opponents.

The biggest question for Atlanta heading into this contest is the status of Ronald Acuña Jr. He missed yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury and is questionable to play on Wednesday. If he’s out, it will be a big blow to the Braves’ lineup since he leads MLB in pretty much every offensive category.

New York Yankees

Through the first 16 games of the season, the Yankees’ lineup that was supposed to be one of the best in the American League is struggling big time.

New York’s producing just a .289 wOBA and 87 wRC+, which a massive step down from 2020.

The Yankees didn’t make any upgrades to their offense during the offseason, but they also kept their entire lineup together. It does seem like they are missing Luke Voit, the MLB home run leader from last season, who is out for the first month of the season.

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Starting Pitching Matchup

Ian Anderson vs. Corey Kluber

2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via Fangraphs)

Braves Starting Pitcher

Ian Anderson, RHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Anderson was a fantastic surprise for the Braves’ rotation last season. The 22-year-old showed why he was the third overall pick in 2016, as he posted a 1.95 ERA in six starts.

However, so far in 2021, he’s been incredibly unlucky. Through his first three starts, Anderson’s ERA is all the way up at 4.77, but his xFIP is almost two runs lower at 2.77. So, the young right-hander is due for some positive regression.

Anderson’s arsenal starts with a really nice fastball that can top out at 96 mph with good downhill movement. He then has a power curve that is a really solid pitch for him, as it produced a 40.5% whiff rate last season.

Where Anderson really excels, though, is with his changeup. The pitch has been almost unhittable so far in his career. He’s allowed only a .104 average to opponents in 2020 and produced a 39.4% whiff rate. The Yankees were seventh against changeups last season, so Anderson will have to be on point with it tonight.

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Yankees Starting Pitcher

Corey Kluber, RHP

2019 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Kluber’s 2019 and 2020 seasons were cut short after he fractured his right forearm in 2019 and suffered a torn shoulder in 2020. He signed with the Yankees in the offseason in hopes to return to his former glory.

Through his first three starts, it seems that return to glory might be a far-fetched dream. He’s only lasted 10 and 1/3 innings in his first three starts and has given up seven earned runs, including three home runs.

His first three starts are not all that surprising, as the two-time Cy Young Award winner is now 34 and coming off back-to-back arm injuries. He mixed his pitches well, but his velocity on almost all of his pitches is down 2-3 mph, which is a major concern.

Now, he’s facing one of the best right-handed hitting lineups in baseball, so it could be a short outing for Kluber tonight.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

Atlanta’s bullpen ranked in the top half of MLB in both ERA and xFIP last season. It’s been pretty average so far this season with an ERA and xFIP around 4.0, so the Braves could be vulnerable when they get to the later innings.

The Yankees will have a slight advantage in the bullpen department. Adam Ottavino is on the Red Sox and Zack Britton is hurt for an extended period of time, so that leaves the back end of the Yankees’ bullpen really exposed once you get past Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green.

So though far in 2021, though, the Yankees have led MLB in ERA and WHIP.

Braves-Yankees Pick

I think the Braves’ lineup has a fantastic matchup against Corey Kluber tonight. The 34-year-old looks nothing like his former Cy Young self, and the Braves lineup should be able to tee off on his cutter.

Since I have the Braves projected for 4.45 runs tonight, I think there’s some value on their team total at over 4.5 runs at +115 odds.

Pick: Braves Team Total Over 4.5 (+115)

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