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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Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after a single in the third inning of Game Two of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 01: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after a single in the third inning of Game Two of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Braves’ stats are eerily similar to the Reds’ numbers in 2021.

The Atlanta Braves are five games back of the division-leading New York Mets, have a negative run differential, rely heavily on their hitting to set the tone, and say a prayer once their starters leave the mound. Sound like anyone you know?

The Braves and Reds share a lot of similarities. The Reds’ bullpen ranks dead-last in the National League with an ERA of 5.70, but the Braves’ relief corps hasn’t been much better, posting an earned run average of 4.89. However, where Cincinnati’s relievers are near the top of the league in strikeouts (321), Atlanta’s bullpen has only 268 punch outs on the season.

That said, the Cincinnati Reds bullpen has allowed a league-worst 48 home runs, while the Atlanta Braves firemen have surrendered just 33 long balls. Cincinnati relievers have also walked 153 batters this season, while Atlanta’s relief squad has placed just 111 on base via a free pass.

On the other side of things, the Reds are first in the NL in hits (610), second in OPS (.749), ands fourth in home runs (96). Atlanta ranks 10th in hits, but the Braves patient approach at the plate allow their OPS (.741) to put them fourth among all other NL clubs, and second in homers (102).

Leading the way for the Atlanta Braves is MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. The Braves’ outfielder is likely headed to his second All-Star appearance. Acuña ranks third in the NL in OPS (.996), trailing only Fernando Tatis Jr. and Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker. Of the four Reds starters headed to the hill this weekend, only Luis Castillo has faced Acuña and allowed one hit in three at-bats.