ATLANTA, GA - MAY 01: A general view of Turner Field during the game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals on May 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves will kick off a 4-game series in Hotlanta this week. This will be the second and final meeting between the two teams and the Brewers took three out of four games in Milwaukee.
The Brewers are 13-14 and have lost six of their last ten games. They've been pretty streaky this season, and they're coming off a series in Houston where they scored seven runs in three games. Let's take a look at their team:
After being one of the best offensive clubs in baseball last season, the Brewers are solid at the plate once again in 2011. They're led by superstar Ryan Braun (.367/.457/.724). He's really good. He's also recently signed on with Milwaukee to play for the Brewers through the year 2077 with an option for '78. Prince Fielder is Braun's protection in the lineup and he's having a fine year (.333/.421/.626). Leadoff man Rickie Weeks is on pace to have another big year (.304/.379/.549). Those three are the main cogs in Milwaukee's lineup.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (.333/.400/.444) has been a pleasant surprise and Casey McGehee (.278/.336/.402) has been hitting better in recent weeks. Center Fielder Carlos Gomez (.240/.278/.340) has struggled this year and shortstop Yunieski Betancourt (.261/.297/.359) isn't very good. Nyjer Moygan has also been impressive in limited playing time.
More after the jump...
The Brewers bullpen is not very good. They're in the bottom-5 in the National League in ERA, FIP, and xFIP as a group and they've battled injuries throughout the year. Closer John Axford has struggled with command at times and has blown a few saves this year. Setup man Kameron Loe has been their best pitcher, and he'll do most of the pitching the 8th inning whenever the Brewers have a lead. Sean Green, Sergio Mitre, Brandon Kintzler, and LaTroy Hawkins are the Brew Crew's right-handed options out of the 'pen and lefty Zach Braddock has been tough this season.
Something To Look For:
Over the last two seasons, the Braves and Brewers have not enjoyed playing each other. A heated altercation between Tommy Hanson and Ryan Braun came up last year after he hit Braun with a pitch and Prince Fielder performed an unnecessarily hard slide into 2nd base after being hit by Jonny Venters. The Brewers ran into Brian McCann multiple times during the first series of the year and even went out of their way to attempt to make contact with our talented catcher. I'm guessing we'll see at least one warning at one point or another during this series.
The Brewers, similar to the Braves, are a talented team who have underachieved in April. They will receive a big boost from Zach Greinke and they can score runs in a hurry. If you're able to slow down the middle of their order, you have a strong chance to win. That is not easy to do, though, and each of the games look to be good ones.