Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies Preview and Pick – Tommy Hanson vs. Aaron Cook

Atlanta Braves (41-43) Tommy Hanson +115, 9 O/U at Colorado
Rockies (45-39) Aaron Cook -125, 9 O/U, Coors Field, Denver,
Colo., 8:40 PM EST, Thursday

by Badger of

The suddenly surging Atlanta Braves will try and continue their climb
back toward the .500 mark when they send rookie right-hander Tommy
Hanson out to the bump to face off against the Colorado Rockies and
their top right-hander Aaron Cook.

The Braves are fresh off of a series win over the Chicago Cubs,
taking the final two games of the three-game set including
yesterdays 4-1 victory in the finale. The Braves offense is still a
work in progress, but their pitching has been lights out of late as
they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and held the Cubs to just six
runs in the entire series in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field
with back-to-back one-run games thrown by Javier Vazquez and Kenshin

Now they will hand the ball to their rookie sensation Hanson, who has
been spectacular since his call up from Triple-A going 4-0 with a
2.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in his six major league starts.

Hanson will have to control one of the hottest teams in all of
baseball though, as the Rockies are 28-11 since Jim Tracy took over
as skipper for Clint Hurdle on May 29th and have surged right back
into the thick of things in the National League pennant race. The
Rockies are coming off of a three-game sweep of the Washington
Nationals, outscoring the Nats 16-8, to move to 4-2 on their current

Cook opened the year as the Rockies top starter and his 8-3 record
with a 3.76 ERA is certainly impressive, but the Rockies are just 8-9
in his 17 starts so far this season. He left his last start on
Saturday due to what was termed shortness of breath in his chest,
so it should be interesting how he responds tonight.

Oddsmakers list the game with Cook and the Rockies as -125 favorites
on the moneyline, but there are still a few offshore sportsbooks that
have the game completely off the board due to the questions
surrounding Cook and his health. That makes the Braves and Hanson as
valuable +115 underdogs on the dimeline, with the over/under total
listed at 9 currently.

Both pitchers have been solid their last few starts, but theyve done it using opposite methods.

Hanson is 3-0 in his last four starts (team is 3-1), but hes only
allowed one run and 12 hits in 24.1 innings pitched. His last outing
he went seven strong with just three hits and one run, but the Braves
still found a way to lose 5-3 to the Nationals.

Meanwhile, Cook has allowed a few more hits (29) and a handful more
runs (8) over his last four outings which includes 27 innings, but
the results have been the same as the Rockies have gone 3-1 in those
contests. He went five innings before being taken out with his chest
issues last time out, in what turned into an 11-7 loss to the

Offensively these teams are on different playing fields as well, as
the Rockies are averaging just over five runs per game (5.1) on their
current six game homestand which is just slightly ahead of their
season-long scoring pace (5.04 8th in MLB). Meanwhile the Braves
have struggled to back their strong pitching all season long as they
have averaged 3.8 runs on their current road trip, which is below
their season average of 4.14 (22nd).

Atlanta has gotten the best of the Rockies in recent times, going 6-2
in their last eight head-to-head meetings. The two teams split a four-
game set earlier this season in Atlanta, but it was the Rockies that
actually took three of four from the Braves when these two teams
played at Coors Field last season. The Rockies are playing solid at
home right now anyway, as they have won nine of their last 11 games
at Coors overall.

Three of those four games last year stayed under the total, going
against the recent betting trends that favor the over. The over is
4-1-2 in Cooks last seven starts against the Braves, and the over is
4-1-2 in the last seven head-to-head meetings overall, but as
mentioned, most of those games were played in Atlanta.

Badgers Pick: Hanson has yet to be listed as an underdog in any of
his first six starts, so I question why he is listed as a dog here.
Smells like a possible trap. But either way, Ill take him versus a
questionable Cook in this game tonight. Take Atlanta at +115 in a
game that should stay under the total.