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Series Preview: Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers

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Can the Brewers win the Battle of the Rebuilding Teams and finish April above .500?

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a sweep against Eric Thames' Punching Bag the Cincinnati Reds, the Brewers look to finish the month of April above .500 with a weekend series against the Atlanta Braves, who come to town at 8-12.

The Braves are in the middle of a rebuilding project of their own, but with the opening of a new ballpark, they've balanced a full rebuild with bringing in some recognizable veterans who may be past their prime to help sell some tickets. Say hello, Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp, Brandon Phillips, R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon.

That's not to say the rebuild has been bad. They've used the veterans to hold spots for a pretty exciting list of prospects that was ranked the best farm system in baseball by MLB Pipeline this spring. Like the Brewers, most of that work on the farm has been done through trades -- 12 of their Top 30 prospects were acquired from elsewhere, including top prospect and former #1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, who the Braves stole from the Dave Stewart era Diamondbacks.

Swanson started the year with the big league club, and despite being a trendy preseason pick for NL Rookie of the Year, is off to a rough start to the year (.138/.169/.188 with 22 strikeouts in 80 AB).

Luckily for Atlanta, Freddie Freeman has picked up the slack, hitting a Thames-ian .380/.494/.775 with 7 HR and 5 doubles in 71 AB. Unfortunately for Atlanta, he's only had the chance to drive in 10 runs because most of the rest of the lineup -- outside a couple of exceptions -- has struggled. Phillips (.352/.387/.507 in 71 AB) and Markakis (.297/.384/.419 in 74 AB) have also performed well this month.

Probable Pitchers

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Friday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Bartolo Colon vs. Chase Anderson

BARTOLO COLON WILL BE WIELDING A BAT AT MILLER PARK. I don't know how that's not the Brewers' sales pitch for tonight's game. He'll also be pitching, too. Considering he's now 43 (44 in a month), he's pitched pretty well this season, putting up a 4.50 ERA in 4 starts so far -- and FIP says he's been better than than (3.72). Again, the man is about to be 44 years old and is consistently putting up 0s. He doesn't really strike anyone out, but he hasn't ever really done that during his career. He generally just forces a bunch of non-threatening fly balls. We'll see if that continues against a Brewers team that has hit a ton of home runs so far and in a park that is particularily homer-friendly.

Saturday, 6:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Jaime Garcia vs. Jimmy Nelson

If it feels like the Brewers have never been able to hit Jaime Garcia, that's pretty much right. In 21 career appearances -- 20 starts -- against the Brewers, he's allowed a 2.88 ERA in 131.1 innings, including 2 complete game shutouts. Of course, most of those Brewers that struggled against him aren't around anymore, and like we saw with another historic Brewer Killer -- Bronson Arroyo -- earlier this year, this year's Brewers don't care much for history. This year, Garcia is striking out drastically fewer batters than he has in the past, mostly because guys are not missing when they swing at pitches in the zone. Batters are swinging at more pitches Garcia throws in the zone (69% compared to 63.5% last year) and making contact more often (91.7% this year, 89.2% last year). Despite Garcia's past success against the Brewers, he's not the same guy this year.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Mike Foltynewicz vs. Matt Garza

A former Top 100 prospect, Foltynewicz is coming off of a pair of solid 7 inning starts against Washington and Philadelphia in which he allowed just 3 total runs. Folty has been the Braves' best pitcher by WAR so far this year and carries the highest K/9 among Atlanta starters. On a staff filled out by 40-year-olds and reconstructed shoulders, he and Julio Teheran represent a glimpse into the future for the rebuilding team. He's capable of throwing mid-90s heat and has had great success with his slider so far this year.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs


How many games will the Brewers win against Atlanta this series?

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