MLB Playoff Odds, Picks & Predictions: Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves NLDS Game 1 (Tuesday, Oct. 6)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Duvall and Ozzie Albies
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|Marlins Odds||+175 [Bet Now]|
|Braves Odds||-215 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||8 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||2:08 p.m. ET|
NL East rivals square off in Houston in the NLDS on Tuesday, as the Marlins take on the Braves.
Only one of these teams expected to be here, as the Marlins pulled off a surprise upset of the Cubs in the Wild Card round.
These two teams met 10 times during the regular season, with the Braves winning six. However, I think we’ll see more dominant performance in the NLDS from Atlanta.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
The Marlins offense, for lack of a better word, stunk coming into the playoffs. Over the last two weeks of the season, the Marlins accumulated a .297 wOBA and 88 wRC+, which ranked 25th in MLB. In fact Miguel Rojas and Garrett Cooper were the only two Miami hitters with a wOBA over .350.
The Marlins have been successful against lefties this year, ranking No. 9 in MLB with .331 wOBA. However, they’ll be facing one of the best lefties in baseball in Max Fried in Game 1.
Atlanta had the best offense in baseball during the regular season. They led MLB in wOBA at .355 and maintained that over the last two weeks of the season at .354. They struggled in Game 1 against the Reds, but exploded in Game 2 with a four-run eighth inning to seal the series.
I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten more media attention, but the Braves have the best 1-2-3 hitters in baseball. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Marcell Ozuna have combined 45 home runs, 138 RBIs, and all have a wOBA over .400.
Additionally, the Braves were the best team in baseball against right handed pitching with a .363 wOBA , so Sandy Alcantara is going to have his hands full trying to get this lineup down in Game 1.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Sandy Alcantara vs. Max Fried
2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)
Sandy Alcantara, RHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Sandy Alcantara is having the best season of his short career, posting career best numbers in almost every statistical category. He’s done that by being very effective with his fastball and sinker, as both pitches have combined to allow only a .208 average to opponents this year.
However, he’ll face his biggest test yet, as the Braves have been the best team in baseball against both fastballs and sinkers this year.
Alcantara’s struggles this year have come from his secondary pitches, as they all are allowing a .300 wOBA or above. That could be a problem in Game 1 if he has to utilize off speed pitches, given how good the Braves are against his main two pitches.
Max Fried, LHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Max Fried has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball that nobody is talking about. The lefty put up a 2.25 ERA this year and allowed only a .209 average to opposing hitters.
Fried’s fastball/curveball/slider combination is as lethal as anyone in baseball. He’s able to bring mid 90s with his fastball and can drop in his curveball with almost 20 mph less velocity to keep hitters off balance.
As you can see, its a pretty deadly pitch:
Max Fried, death by Curveball. ☠️ pic.twitter.com/oI8wWYpQFR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 30, 2020
On his main three-pitch arsenal, Fried has held opponents to a under a .290 wOBA on each pitch. In Game 1 against the Reds, Fried tossed seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and no walks. I think he should be able to repeat that performance against the Marlins on Tuesday.
The Marlins bullpen has been an issue for them all season long. Miami has the 26th best ERA (5.50) and 29th-best xFIP (5.39) in MLB. Their bullpen will likely be their Achilles heel in this series.
Atlanta counters with a bullpen that ranks in the top half of MLB in both ERA and xFIP, so they will have the clear advantage in the later innings during this series.
Projections and Pick
Atlanta’s offense with Max Fried on the mound is a deadly combination. One I don’t think the Marlins will be able to contain in Game 1.
Since I have the Braves margin of victory projected at -2.01, I am going to back their run line of -1.5 at +100 and would play it up to -115. DraftKings and BetMGM have +106 and +105 respectively, as of Monday night.
Pick: Braves -1.5 (+105)