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The Milwaukee Brewers (45-39) are set to host the Chicago Cubs (38-44) to start the final week of the first half of the season and the final before the 2023 MLB All-Star Break. The Brewers lead the pack of the talented NL Central due to their tremendous play in the fielding and pitching game. Chicago, on the other hand, is in the middle of the pack in the division as they are not good enough to compete for the divisional title or too bad to be at the bottom of the barrel.
The odds for either the Brewers or the Cubs to account for runs in the first inning is low due to the lack of production at the plate both teams possess. Milwaukee is one of the worst teams in the MLB as it ranks near-last or last in every batting category. The same could be said for the Cubs as they are in the bottom half in almost every offensive category.
To make matters worse for the two teams, the Brewers and the Cubs are sending out two of their best pitchers at the mound for this matchup. Milwaukee will put Julio Teheran (2.85 ERA in 41 innings pitched) to start while Chicago will have Drew Smyly (3.96 ERA in 86.1 innings pitched).
There is low faith of either the Brewers or the Cubs’ weaker batting teams will find a way to score consistently, let alone early.
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The Cleveland Guardians (41-42) are set to host one of the top teams in the league in the Atlanta Braves (56-27) in a three-game series. Both teams have done well in the month of June to get where they are now.
The Braves are currently on an eight-game winning streak as they are coming off a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins and the Miami Marlins. In the series sweep over the Marlins, the Braves scored 11 runs in the first inning before being left scoreless in the third and final game of the series.
The Braves rank first in the MLB in runs accounted for in the first inning (1.05). They are the only team in the league to average one run or more in the first inning.
The Guardians, on the other hand, are ranked 22nd in the league in runs accounted for in the first inning (0.47). While the Braves are more equipped to score early in games, the Guardians haven’t scored a run in the first inning in over four series.
Atlanta’s batting team ranks first in the NL in runs accounted for (470), first in hits accounted for (773), first in home runs accounted for (158), first in batting average (.272), first in on-base percentage (.341) and first in slugging percentage (.497).
The Braves are set to go face Gavin Williams (2.84 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched) at the mound for the Guardians. He has been good in his limited, but there is more faith in the Braves starting strong early than Williams holding strong.
The Cincinnati Reds (45-39) have had a great month of June in all areas of the game, while the Washington Nationals (34-49) continue to struggle significantly. On Monday, the Reds and the Nationals will meet in a four-game series in Washington D.C., where the Padres are bound to be the favorite for all three of the games, according to DraftKings.
The Reds have improved significantly at the plate by ranking fourth in the NL runs accounted for (414), seventh in hits accounted (724), first in stolen bases (94), third in walks (300), sixth in batting average (.256) and second in on-base percentage (.335). The Nationals have a good batting team, but their lack of elite talent limits their consistency. Washington ranks 14th in the NL in runs accounted for (339), fourth in hits accounted for (734), last (15th) in home runs accounted for (66), last in walks (204), first in fewest strikeouts accounted for (580), third in batting average (.261) and 12th in on-base percentage (.317).
The Nationals rank fifth in the league in runs accounted for in the first inning (0.62) while the Reds are 13th in runs accounted for in the first inning (0.57). While they are impressive throughout the season at the plate, both teams have struggled to account for runs early in the game. The Nationals haven’t scored any runs in the first inning while allowing three from the Philadelphia Phillies in their most recent series. The Reds haven’t scored a single run in the series against the San Diego Padres.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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