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

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 24: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves attempts to turn a double play past Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds in the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 24: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves attempts to turn a double play past Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds in the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves at bat.
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 29: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves at bat. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Defending MVP leads a powerful lineup.

If there’s one thing the Braves’ offense does well, it’s hitting the long ball. Atlanta’s current active roster features five players who have gone deep at least 18 times this season, led by the 24 each from Freddie Freeman and the aforementioned Adam Duvall.

The Braves enter play today with 157 round-trippers placing them second among all National League clubs. In addition to Freeman and Duvall, third baseman Austin Riley has 23 homers, while the keystone combination of Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies have contributed 20 and 18 dingers, respectively.

Overall the Braves are a slightly above average offensive unit producing a .242/.322/.427 slash line barely eclipsing the .241/.318/.402 league average. Atlanta’s 4.81 runs per contest is good enough for fourth among all NL clubs.

Being average is not limited to the Braves offense as the Atlanta pitching staff is a fairly pedestrian unit as a whole as well. Their 4.12 ERA ranks seventh in the league, as does their 981 strikeouts.

However, Braves hurlers are tied for the NL lead with 12 team shutouts on the season even though manager Brian Snitker has yet to allow an Atlanta starter toss a complete game shutout during the 2021 campaign. In addition, Max Fried and Charlie Morton are the only Braves to throw more than 100 pitches in a game more than once this season.

The outfield wasn’t the only position the Braves beefed up at the trade deadline. They acquired right-hander Richard Rodriguez from the Pittsburgh Pirates to compliment southpaw closer Will Smith at the backend of the Atlanta bullpen. The 31-year-old Rodriguez has yet to allow a run in five appearances since heading south.