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Braves look to break out of doldrums behind Kyle Muller against Brewers

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Atlanta dropped Friday’s series opener 9-5

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets - Game One Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves have amazingly gone fourteen straight games alternating between wins and losses since the all-star break. This remains the case after a frustrating loss on Friday against the Brewers in which Atlanta tagged Cy Young candidate Corbin Burnes for four runs in the first inning for perhaps Burnes’ worst start of the season, but lost the game 9-5. The Braves have hovered just below .500 for essentially the entire season and have not been above .500, despite still being only 4.0 games out of first place in the division.

Atlanta will look to even up the series against the Brewers and start to dig back towards .500 on Saturday behind rookie Kyle Muller, who will face off against another high-caliber Milwaukee starter in Brandon Woodruff.

Muller has been quite good for Atlanta in five starts as a rookie, good for a 2.55 ERA. Obviously five starts is a pretty small sample, but Muller’s more predictive metrics are interesting. He is outproducing all predictive metrics, but the metrics vary wildly on how good he has actually been, ranging from a still-very-good 3.16 FIP to a not-so-good 4.80 FIP. His batted ball data with xERA and xwOBA allowed lean closer to the FIP side of things, while floating in the middle of the two. As the massive xFIP jump would indicate, Muller is riding a miniscule HR/FB rate, which is worth keeping an eye on as he pitches more.

While he has not been as dominant as his teammate Burnes, Woodruff has been great in his own right this season, ranking 6th in pitcher fWAR among all pitchers and second in ERA among qualified pitchers. Woodruff has been consistently very good to great over the past four seasons, but this season has been his best yet. Boasting an upper-90s fastball that he throws over 60% of the time with a curve, change, and slider that he mixes in, Woodruff strikes out over 10 batters per 9 innings, and has a low walk rate. Woodruff will be a tough matchup, for the Braves, although reinforcements are likely on the way in the form of Jorge Soler, who should be available to play after being traded to Atlanta at the deadline on Friday. Adam Duvall may also feature again after he was also traded to Atlanta on Friday. Richard Rodriguez and Eddie Rosario were also added by Atlanta at the deadline. Rodriguez may be available out of the bullpen, but Rosario is not expected to be available Saturday due to injury rehabilitation.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Saturday, July 31, 7:20 pm EDT

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA

TV: Bally Sports Southeast

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM

XM Radio: Ch. 187