The Arizona Diamondbacks aren't slowing down. A lot of people (and we are included here — we thought so, too) favored the Atlanta Braves over Arizona on Friday night in the first game of this series. The Diamondbacks had won five in a row. The Braves, a very good team, had gone through a rough patch against the Oakland Athletics, losing two of three games to the worst team in Major League Baseball. Surely, we reasoned, the laws of averages were going to even out on both sides of the divide. The D-Backs were due for a loss, and the Braves' bats — dead on their Western road trip — would finally come alive.
Nope. It didn't happen.
The Diamondbacks, behind Merrill Kelly and some relievers, limited Atlanta to a couple of Eddie Rosario solo home runs. That's it. That's all the Braves' offense produced. Atlanta scored just two runs and Arizona won 3-2. Atlanta played bad defense while also failing to manufacture a run. The Braves continued to play bad baseball, while the Diamondbacks pushed their winning streak to six, the first time the D-Backs have won that many in a row since 2020.
Arizona has a better record than Atlanta. The D-Backs, if they win this game and get a Los Angeles Dodger loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday, will have the best record in the National League all to themselves. That's a stunning development in this 2023 MLB season. No one saw this coming.
Here are the Braves-Diamondbacks MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Braves-Diamondbacks Odds
Atlanta Braves: -1.5 (-126)
Arizona Diamondbacks: +1.5 (+105)
Over: 8.5 (-118)
Under: 8.5 (-104)
How To Watch Braves vs. Diamondbacks
TV: Bally Sports South (Braves) / Bally Sports Arizona (Diamondbacks) / MLB Extra Innings
Time: 10:10 p.m. ET/7:10 p.m. PT
*Watch Braves-Diamondbacks LIVE on fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Braves Could Cover The Spread
The logic behind picking the Braves on Friday — which we agreed with — remains the same here. The Braves can't continue to be awful at the plate, and the Diamondbacks are eventually going to lose a game. A little course correction is due for both teams. However, there's another ingredient in the mix for this game which did not apply to Friday night: Spencer Strider. The strikeout artist who regularly punches out at least seven to nine hitters per game, and often gets more, gives Atlanta a weapon which can shut down the Arizona offense. The Diamondbacks have scored a lot of runs this season — they're in the top five of the National League — but Strider can hold them in check.
Also, Ryne Nelson — not Zac Gallen, not Merrill Kelly — is the starter for the D-Backs in this game. The pitching matchup hugely favors Atlanta. It's hard to look past that.
Why The Diamondbacks Could Cover The Spread
The Diamondbacks keep being doubted, and they keep answering those doubts. They continue to be viewed as a team which is not yet ready to compete for the World Series, but they continue to look like a team which can actually confound the experts. When will people start believing in this team? The Diamondbacks are just really good, and the Braves are playing atrocious baseball this week in the West, first in Oakland and now in Phoenix. Take the team which is playing good baseball over the team which isn't.
Final Braves-Diamondbacks Prediction & Pick
The Diamondbacks are for real. However, Spencer Strider is, too. The pitching matchup — not the trends of the past several days — represents the best reason to make a pick on this game, and it's Atlanta.
Final Braves-Diamondbacks Prediction & Pick: Braves -1.5