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Brewers (15-26) @ Braves (19-20) series preview

The former Seattle Pilots and the former Milwaukee Braves meet up for the first time in 2015.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers have played above .500 in the month of May. They are 10-9 so far. That's pretty sassy and right around what I expected from this team. Good but not great. I think April was more fluke than indicative of their true talent level but that doesn't really matter anymore. They're going into Atlanta for a four game set to end their current road trip after dropping 2 out of 3 to the Mets and taking 2 out of 3 from the Tigers.

Going into the season I would have put money on the Braves being the worse team between them and the Brewers. I still believe that to be true but they've fared much better so far. They're in third place in the West with a 19-20 record just 4 games back of first place. I don't think they have a chance at the playoffs though.

The top end of their pitching staff is pretty solid on paper and I especially like Alex Wood and Shelby Miller. I was rather quite surprised to see them ranked 26th so far in terms of fWAR in pitching. Julio Teheran has been awful and they gave 7 starts to Eric Stults which helps explain a lot.

Their offense really isn't up to snuff . They're a lot like the Mets in that way, but I think NY offers more upside in each category. The only offensive player I think is really legit is Freddie Freeman. Andrelton Simmons is still amazing on defense and so far has been around league average offensively which makes him a tremendous asset.

Offensive Spotlight

The Braves currently rank 19th in wRC+ but they're being propped up a lot by offensive contributions from role players that are unlikely to be sustained. Cameron Maybin, Simmons, and Nick Markaikis have been decent but not impressive. Their only real consistent threat is first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Freeman has slashed 303/361/500 (.375 wOBA, 137 wRC+). He has 5 home runs and 15 doubles already. None of this is out of character for him. In fact, his 8.4 BB% is uncharacteristically low for him so he might even get better.

Pitching Match-Ups

Thursday May 21, 6:10 pm CST: Matt Garza vs Julio Teheran

I'm not sure what is the cause for Teheran's issues right now (4.33 ERA, 5.53 FIP, 4.15 xFIP) but he's getting hit (.297 BAA) and getting hit hard (1.85 HR/9). He's a relatively young pitcher and has been good the past 2 years so I think it's too soon to say he's not good anymore. His SwStr% and Zone% are normal. Maybe it's just bad luck. I'd expect him to turn it around. He throws a low 90's fastball to go along with a slider, curve, and change.

Friday May 22, 6:10 pm CST: Wily Peralta vs Alex Wood

I always liked Alex Wood. I'd try to draft him in my fantasy leagues every year. He feels like a similar pitcher to Andrew Cashner: Good stuff but a lot people pegged them as relievers. I think they're both solid mid-rotation starters with upside if they can stay healthy. Wood is a lefty who throws his fastball in the 89-90 range with a curve and a change.

Saturday May 23, 3:10 pm CST: Mike Fiers vs Shelby Miller

The Braves got Miller in the Jason Heyward deal and it's looking like a very good move for the rebuilding club. This year in 8 starts (54 IP) Miller has been their best pitcher by far. He has a 1.33 ERA, 3.25 FIP, and 3.74 xFIP. Whatever his issues where last year seem to be behind him. He throws a fastball (93-94), cutter, curve, and change.

Sunday May 24, 12:35 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs Mike Foltynewicz

Everything I've ready about Foltynewicz has pegged him as a reliever and so far he's shown nothing to dissuade that opinion. He has a big fastball (94-97) but below average command. He also throws a slider, curve, and change. He's made 4 starts for the Braves and been rocked by a .300 BAA and 1.23 HR/9. He has a 5.32 ERA, 4.44 FIP, and 4.75 xFIP. If all he can boast in his start against the Brewers is a big fastball it could be a short start for him.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs