Joc Pederson home run celebration

Atlanta Braves’ Joc Pederson celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • The Atlanta Braves are -142 favorites to close out the Milwaukee Brewers at home in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday afternoon
  • Neither team announced a starter for the next contest in a series where runs have been hard to come by
  • The odds and pitching matchups can be found below with a prediction

Following a 3-0 victory in Game 3 of the National League Division Series,  the Atlanta Braves will go for the series win against the Milwaukee Brewers at 5:07 pm ET Tuesday at Truist Park.

Joc Pederson became just the third player in MLB history with two pinch-hit home runs in a single postseason series after taking Adrian Houser deep for a second time in three games. Pederson’s three-run blast in the fifth inning proved to be more than enough run support for Atlanta pitching as Milwaukee was shut out for a second straight game. The Brewers have scored only two runs so far in the series. Now, manager Brian Snitker’s club will try to close it out Tuesday.

Brewers vs Braves Game 4 Odds

Team Moneyline Runline Total
Milwaukee Brewers +120 +1.5 (-178) O 8.5 (-105)
Atlanta Braves -142 -1.5 (+146) U 8.5 (-115)

Odds as of October 11th at DraftKings.

Pitcher’s Delight

It’s anyone’s guess who will start the critical game Tuesday. All we know at this point is Atlanta’s Game 1 starter Charlie Morton is an option, albeit on short rest. Meantime, Milwaukee skipper Craig Counsell said Corbin Burnes will not be available in any capacity Tuesday.

If it is Morton, the 37-year-old has postseason experience under similar circumstances. It’s been years since he last did it, but Morton — who owns a 7-4 record and 3.34 ERA amid 14 playoff appearances (13 starts) — did pitch four innings of two-hit relief on short rest in Fall Classic-clinching Game 7 of the 2017 World Series for Houston. It could also turn into a bullpen game (which it likely would be even with Morton starting), using pitchers such as Huascar Ynoa and Drew Smyly. Regardless of who goes for the home team, runs have been historically hard to come by in this series.

As a whole, Atlanta’s pitching staff has held Milwaukee scoreless for 19 consecutive innings. Morton, Game 2 starter Max Fried, and Game 3 starter Ian Anderson have struck out 24 while walking only one over 17 innings.

Brewers southpaw Eric Lauer (7-5, 3.19) is one logical starting option for Counsell, with the Brew Crew incorporating a similar bullpen-game strategy. If it is the 26-year-old lefty, Milwaukee fans should be comforted to know he’s been especially solid over the last three-plus months, going 6-2 with a 1.78 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and a .515 opponents’ OPS over 75.2 innings (14 games, 13 starts).

The counterargument is he did get roughed up in three innings of relief against the Braves May 14th in an eventual 6-3 loss, allowing four hits, three earned runs and no walks while striking out four.

Whatever pitcher gets the start for Counsell needs to be very careful pitching to the dangerous Pederson.

Joctober

The Brewers are hitting .178 in three games, have gone a combined 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position and their only two runs of the NLDS came on a Rowdy Tellez two-run shot in the seventh-inning of a 2-1 Game 1 victory. Then, there’s Joc Pederson.

All the 29-year-old former Dodger has done is go 3-for-3 in the series, with two home runs and four RBI.  Look at what everyone else has done.

Needless to say, Pederson has been a spark-plug for a Braves offense that has seen its 3-4-5 hitters go a combined 8-for-35 (.229) so far. However, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, or Adam Duvall have been solid in the last games, going 7-for-23 (.304) in a pair of Atlanta victories. As we’ve seen with Pederson, all it takes is one big swing of the bat to change the momentum of the series.

Yes, Milwaukee has been a bit unlucky (Ian Anderson was able to wriggle out of a situation in the fifth inning Monday with runners on second and third and no out completely unscathed that proved to be the difference). Brewers batters hit the ball hard, but right at Atlanta defenders. That said, the Brewers were 11th in the NL in OPS this season. Relying on stellar pitching can only take you so far.

Brewers vs Braves Pick

The team that wins Game 3 of a best-of-give series has advanced 72% of the time.

The Braves will do just that Tuesday at home. With Burnes looming for a Game 5 back at American Family Field Thursday, Atlanta will be highly motivated to close this series out.

The Pick: Braves moneyline (-142)

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Blair Johnson

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