Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks / MLB 2022 Predictions & Preview
Nearly identical in record, the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves are at the Arizona Diamondbacks for a Memorial Day matchup.
The Braves find themselves in second place but falling further behind the first-place Mets. Arizona is coming off a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers, and the good feelings about their better-than-expected start are beginning to fade.
Atlanta Braves Overview
It’s really hard to win back-to-back World Series rings because it’s so hard to win just one World Series ring.
The Braves know how hard it was for them to win last year, in 1995, and going back to 1957 for the World Series before that. It’s been more than 20 years since we’ve had a repeat World Series champion when the Yankees did it. The Blue Jays were able to do it in the 90s, and we have to go back 45 years to find the previous back-to-back World Series winner.
This is all to say that we shouldn’t be surprised if the Braves don’t, in fact, win the World Series this season. However, it is a bit surprising to see them struggle to play .500 baseball, which they haven’t been able to do since they were 5-5 on April 16.
The biggest problem is scoring runs. Atlanta is fourth in baseball with 60 home runs, but baseball is not just about the longball, as so many think it is.
The Braves are fourth in home runs but just 18th in RBI because they are in the bottom-third in on-base percentage. The Braves are hitting home runs, but an inordinate amount of those homers are coming with no one on base.
Arizona Diamondbacks Overview
It’s interesting because we’re seeing the same thing happening with the Arizona offense that we see in Atlanta. The Diamondbacks’ power numbers are there.
Their 57 team home runs is good for sixth in the Major Leagues. But they are 22nd in runs scored and 23rd in RBI because they are the second-worst batting team in baseball.
Christian Walker leads the team with 12 home runs. But of the eight players in Major League Baseball with 12 home runs or more, his 22 RBI is the lowest. His .195 batting average doesn’t help.
He’s not driving in runs during non-home run at-bats. But he is hardly alone among Arizona players struggling to get base hits.
Unlike Atlanta, it was only recently that Arizona fell below .500. They’ve been hovering at or above break-even for most of the season. But in the last two weeks, they’ve played eight games against the Dodgers, and L.A. won all eight of them.
There was a four-game sweep at Dodger Stadium by an average score of 7-4. Then a just-completed four-game sweep in Arizona by an average score of 6-2.
Arizona has fallen 11 games behind the first-place Dodgers and is now just one game ahead of Colorado for fourth place in the N.L. West.
Braves at Diamondbacks Prediction
The Braves are scheduled to send Spencer Strider to the mound for his first career start on Monday. It is a start that many Braves fans have been anticipating because of Strider’s incredible stuff.
In 11 relief appearances in his rookie season, Strider has 37 strikeouts in 24 innings.
He’s a strikeout machine, but seeing as this is his first-ever start, just how many innings that machine can go is still to be determined.
The Diamondbacks are scheduled to send Zac Gallen to the mound for his ninth start of the season. He’s been excellent in seven of his previous eight starts, but he did get knocked around by the Royals his last time out.
Six days ago, Kansas City touched him for six earned runs in 5.1 innings and hit just the second home run allowed by Gallen this season.
That feels more like a blip than a trend, and you should expect Gallen to pitch well again on Monday.