The Atlanta Braves (43-31) and Milwaukee Brewers square off for a three-game series in Milwaukee, with the Braves looking to rebound from dropping a home series and the Brewers hoping to get hot as they did in 2012.
Probables: Friday: Julio Teheran (5-3, 3.36) vs. Wily Peralta (4-8, 6.08); Saturday: Tim Hudson (4-6, 4.17) vs. to be determined; Sunday: Paul Maholm (7-6, 3.57) vs. Alfredo Figaro (1-1, 3.88).
Keys: The Braves scored just eight runs in the first six innings in their five-game series against the New York Mets, and five of those runs came in Wednesday night’s game. To win this series, the Braves need to score early and take advantage of a pitching rotation that ranks last in the National League with a 5.05 earned run average. Peralta has posted a 7.34 ERA at Miller Park this season, and Figaro is pitching to remain in the rotation.
Saturday’s starter has not been announced, but it could be Tom Gorzelanny, who started and pitched four innings on June 8. Since then, the left-hander has pitched out of the bullpen and hasn’t seen action since Tuesday when he threw just 21 pitches.
No matter who starts on Saturday, the Braves should take advantage of missing the Brewers’ top starters Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse to score some early runs in this series.
The Brewers’ offense ranks in the middle of the pack in the National League in most offensive categories, but are currently without five-time All-Star and former MVP Ryan Braun. His absence has put added pressure on Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez to get on base and steal bases.
The Brewers rank third in the National League 54 stolen bases, and Segura (22) and Gomez (14) play a major role in that. Milwaukee is at their best when those two get on base, create havoc on the bases and let capable middle-of-the-order hitters in Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy drive them in. The Braves’ pitching staff should pay extra attention to both hitters at the top of the order.
Outlook: The Brewers are capable of putting some runs on the scoreboard, but their starting pitchers continue to let them down. I’d expect the Braves’ offense to show some signs of life after a disappointing series against the Mets and rebound to take this series.