The Braves have come home to Atlanta for the first home stand of their 2012 season. They take on the Brew Crew in a three-game set this weekend at Turner Field. After an 0-4 start, the Bravos have won two in a row and hope to retain the momentum gained in Houston this week. The Brewers come to town with a 4-3 record, after having swept the sad, sad Cubbies in a three game series. They then chose to play an additional fourth game in the series and lost to the Cubs by a score of 8-0 (thanks to commenters. major fail on my part.).
Literally a large presence in the middle of the 2011 Brewers lineup is missing this year. In the absence of Prince Fielder, the Brewers added Aramis Ramirez to the lineup, who has taken over at third for Casey McGehee. Ramirez is one of the streakier hitters in the bigs and is struggling mightily at the plate so far this season. Mat Gamel, who has primarily played third throughout his minor league career (about 200 big league ABs), will play first base this year for the big league club. We all know Braun's story, but it seems as though he isn't letting his steroid/testosterone issues affect his performance or confidence this season. He is 7-for-23 early on with three doubles and a dinger already. It seems like without the protection of Fielder, we may ultimately see Braun's numbers come back to earth from last years stellar MVP figures, but he is still of course a major offensive threat.
The Brew Crew has a solid pitching staff. They of course added K-Rod to the bullpen last season, and combined with John Axford the club effectively has two closers at the back of their bullpen. Does that sound like any other teams you follow? Gallardo and Greinke are the number one and number two starters, and though the Braves won't have to face either, they do face two lefties. Ugh.
Friday 4/13 7:35 PM
As I mentioned, the Braves are going to face some lefties this weekend. As much as the Braves struggled against left handed pitching last season, at least Randy Wolf doesn't exactly have the ball club figured out. He is 5-12 with a 5.28 ERA against the Braves over the course of his long career. I know that statistic has little relevance in the situation, but I find it to be a bit comforting. Maybe?
Saturday 4/14 7:10 PM
Minor got roughed up pretty good in his first start of the season after a great spring training. The Mets scored six runs (all earned) on Mike during his 5 inning outing. He also struggled with command, walking four batters on the afternoon. Shaun Marcum has only pitched against the Braves twice, holding a 2.08 ERA in those two starts.
Sunday 1:35 PM
Narveson has also had success in limited appearances against the Braves, holding the team to two runs over twelve innings in two starts. He got the win for the Brewers against the Cubs on Tuesday. Brandon Beachy was handed a loss against the Astros on the same day, but only gave up one earned run over five innings. Remember the game where the left side of the infield just kinda collapsed? Brandon was the victim that night.