Reds vs. Braves: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ozzie Albies #1 steals second base in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ozzie Albies #1 steals second base in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Charlie Culberson #8 of the Atlanta Braves is forced out at second by Kyle Farmer #52 of the Cincinnati Reds.
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 30: Charlie Culberson #8 of the Atlanta Braves is forced out at second by Kyle Farmer #52 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Reds and Braves clash, looking to gain ground in their respective divisions.

When you take a look at the Cincinnati Reds (36-36), they’re in a very similar boat to their National League East opponent this weekend, the Atlanta Braves (35-38). Both teams had a measure of success last season, but are struggling to build off that success in 2021.

After a trying road trip, the Reds return home to Great American Ball Park looking to put together another winning streak. After ripping off three straight against the Milwaukee Brewers on the road, Cincinnati dropped four straight against the San Diego Padres. The Redlegs split the two-game set with Minnesota and return home sporting a .500 record.

The Braves find themselves, surprisingly, three games below .500 and five games out of the NL East Division. As expected, the Braves’ offense is among the best in the league, but much like the Reds, Atlanta’s pitching staff has been the Achilles’ heel for Brian Skitker’s group this season.

After a day off yesterday, the Reds need to gear-up for a challenging homestand. After a four-game stretch against the Braves, Cincinnati has makeup game next Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies before the Padres come to town.

Following that opportunity for revenge, the Chicago Cubs come to town for a three-game set, then Cincinnati goes on the road for seven straight games with a trip to Kansas City and Milwaukee awaiting the Reds after the homestand. The Cincinnati Reds face a stretch of 18 consecutive days until the All-Star break.

Over the next 18 days, the fan base should have a good idea as to whether or not the Reds are going be competitive and looking to buy at the July 30th trade deadline, or if Cincinnati has fallen out of the NL Central race and will be sellers by the end of next month. It all starts with a four-game visit from the Atlanta Braves. Let’s preview the upcoming matchup.