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The Braves are on fire offensively, scoring 24 total runs over their three games in Cincinnati this past weekend. They’ve actually scored at least five runs in 10 of their last 11 games. During that time, Olson and Riley have been crushing it. Combining the two in a same-game parlay to both get one measly hit will give you fair odds.
Olson has 15 hits in his last 13 games, which is a lot for a player who doesn’t hit for a high average. He also has eight home runs during that stretch, so he’s seeing the ball well and feels comfortable at the plate. Olson is also 2 for 5 in his career against Minnesota starter Sonny Gray. Meanwhile, Riley has heated up more recently, going 7 for 21 over his last five games. Outside of Ronald Acuna, these are the two hottest hitters in a scorching-hot Atlanta lineup, so look for that to continue on Monday.
Speaking of Gray, it’s best to fade him on Monday against the Braves. As mentioned, Atlanta is in an offensive groove right now and should continue to stay hot at home. Gray, on the other hand, has evened out after a great start to the season. He looked untouchable in April with a 0.77 ERA. But he had a 3.91 ERA in May and has posted a 3.92 ERA thus far in June. He’s been good, but perhaps not good enough to contain Atlanta’s lineup.
Gray has allowed at least three earned runs in three of his last five starts. In fairness, he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any start this year, so the margin for error isn’t particularly high. But if he’s not at his best, it’ll be hard to traverse the Atlanta lineup two or three times without getting into trouble.
With the Atlanta lineup red-hot, Strider is in an excellent position to pick up a win on Monday. While he hasn’t been quite as dominant as some expected this season, the Braves have won the last five games that Strider has started. More importantly, Strider has been the winning pitcher in four of those games, so there is good value in that continuing.
Obviously, a lot goes into a starting pitcher getting the win in a game. But run support shouldn’t be a problem for Strider. Even with the Twins winning four of their last five games, they’ve only averaged 4.6 runs per game during that stretch. Strider should be able to Minnesota under wraps, especially with the Twins being 17-20 on the road this year. With Strider’s ability to go deep into games, his chances of leaving the game with a lead and getting the win increase significantly.
There are multiple options available with Cease facing the Angels on Monday. While the Angels still have Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, their lineup has been hit by injuries lately. If you take away their 25 runs in one game at Coors Field on Saturday, the Angels have just seven total runs over their last four games, so they’re not in good shape. Plus, Trout and Ohtani are just 3 for 14 (.214) in their careers against Cease.
As for Cease, he’s collected at least seven strikeouts in four of his last five starts dating back to the end of May. Keep in mind that he struggled in May with a 5.57 ERA but has turned things around with a 2.38 ERA in June. His success this month has been accompanied by a lot of strikeouts, so over 6.5 isn’t asking a lot. At the same time, he’s allowed two earned runs or less in all four of his starts this month and five of his last six starts overall. A banged-up Angels lineup that hasn’t hit him well in the past isn’t likely to change that trend.
For high value in a prop bet, look at Castillo’s matchup against the Nationals on Monday. Castillo’s in a rather unusual stretch at the moment because he’s lost his last four starts. However, he has a 3.42 ERA across those four starts, pitching well but getting little support. Castillo knows he’ll have to be at his best and will be in a position to succeed against a Washington lineup that has scored three runs or less in five of the team’s last six games, as the Nats don’t have the talent or depth to trouble someone like Castillo who’s at his best.
Despite the lack of run support he’s received over the last month, Castillo has allowed just six total hits over his last 10.2 innings, covering his last two starts. In four of his last six starts, Castillo has allowed four hits or less. He’s dominated teams like the Pirates and A’s during that stretch. It’s not hard to envision him having similar success against the Nationals on Monday.
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Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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