For the second time this season, the Atlanta Braves are going to be welcoming an NL Central team to Atlanta for a four-game series. This time, the visitors will be the Milwaukee Brewers; A team that has fallen on hard times so far in 2015.
Of course, when you think of the Brewers, the first name you think of is Ryan Braun, right? Well, he's gotten off to a good start to 2015 as he tries to put a controversial 2014 behind him. He's hitting .263/.338/.504 so far this season, with 10 home runs and 126 wRC+ so far. He and Adam Lind (.286/.377/.526, 7 HRs, 141 wRC+) have been the two most consistent hitters for the Brewers this season, with Carlos Gomez beginning to come around as well. Other than that, the rest of the team has been hit by a maelstrom of injury woes and roster discontent. As a result of all the discord, The Brewers as a team are currently hitting .229/.284/.388, and their team batting fWAR is currently at 1.1 That goes a long way towards explaining why the team isn't doing so hot right now.
Normally when you see a team struggling in one part of the game, they're at least decent in another part of the game which makes them mediocre at the very least (prime example: Our beloved Braves). Unfortunately for Milwaukee, they've struggled just as much on the mound as they have at the plate. The Brewers team ERA is currently 4.59 (worst in baseball), and their team FIP is at 4.42 (second-worst in baseball). One of the culprits for those high numbers is Thursday's starter: Matt Garza. Garza's ERA is 5.72 and his FIP is 5.38. Needless to say, that's pretty bad. The same could be said of the rest of the rotation. The two bright spots have been Mike Fiers and Jimmy Nelson; Fiers for his K/9 rate of 11.24, and Nelson for the fact that he's been able to get into the late innings of games in his start. Meanwhile, the bullpen isn't notable except for the fact that they have Francisco Rodriguez and Jonathan Broxton in there (K-Rod's actually been good, while Broxton's been struggling a bit). So basically, this series serves as an opportunity for Braves hitters to actually get a fair amount of production done. I'll actually be legitimately concerned if we see one of those "2-hit, 1 run" nights from the Braves against Milwaukee.
The Braves will have the top of their rotation going for the first three games of the series, and this should especially be an opportunity for Julio Teheran to continue working towards bouncing back from a pretty bad start to his 2015 campaign. This is going to be one of those rare series in 2015 where the Braves are facing off against a team that they're clearly better than; Here's hoping that the on-field results reflect what's going on on paper.
Thursday, May 21st at 7:10 PM EST
Matt Garza (MIL): 2-5, 5.72 ERA, 5.38 FIP, 20.5% HR/FB%
Julio Teheran (ATL): 3-1, 4.33 ERA, 5.53 FIP, 22.0% HR/FB%
Friday, May 22nd at 7:35 PM EST
Wily Peralta (MIL): 1-5, 4.32 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 2.16 BB/9
Alex Wood (ATL): 2-2, 3.83 FIP, 3.34 FIP, 0.38 HR/9
Saturday, May 23rd at 4:10 PM EST (On Fox Sports 1)
Mike Fiers (MIL): 1-4, 4.75 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 11.23 K/9
Shelby Miller (ATL): 5-1, 1.33 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 88.8% LOB%
Sunday, May 24th at 1:10 PM EST
Jimmy Nelson (MIL): 2-4, 3.73 ERA, 4.21 FIP, 52.2% GB%
Mike Foltynewicz (ATL): 2-1, 5.32 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 9.41 K/9