Heading into a playoff series, you can’t tell much — if anything — from the previous meetings between the two teams involved.
That might especially be the case for the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, who were completely different teams the first two times they met, and have even been more different since.
The first series between these two teams came B.A. (Before Adames). The Brewers’ offense was legitimately one of the worst in the league, while Atlanta had Ronald Acuna, Jr. putting together the makings of a possible MVP run.
The second series was shortly after Atlanta lost Acuna for the year on a freak ACL injury, and as they were in the middle of totally revamping their roster at the trade deadline.
Since then, the Braves ran away with the NL East with a second half surge, while the Brewers coasted to a finish after largely taking care of business before the calendar even turned to September.
With all that in mind, here’s a look back at what’s happened in the first six games between these two.
May 14, 2021 - Braves 6, Brewers 3
Drew Smyly limited the Brewers to a single run on 4 hits across 6 innings before Milwaukee scored a couple garbage time runs in the bottom of the 9th to make the score look more respectable. Adrian Houser only lasted 3 innings in the start, walking 5 batters. Eric Lauer pitched 3 innings in relief, but gave up a pair of home runs to put the game out of reach. The loss was the Brewers’ 9th in 12 games.
May 15, 2021 - Braves 5, Brewers 1
Atlanta racked up 11 hits — 8 of them off Brett Anderson as he only went 3.2 innings in the start — while the Brewers got 3 hits total and Ian Anderson took a no-hitter into the 7th inning. 2 of the Brewers’ 3 hits came from Pablo Reyes. This is about as bad as the Brewers’ lineup looked on paper all year, with the 3-4-5 spots being filled by Avi Garcia, Dan Vogelbach and Travis Shaw. Luis Urias was the only person in the lineup that day with more than one hard-hit ball, per Statcast.
May 16, 2021 - Brewers 10, Braves 9
Runs! Offense! And a final score that was much closer than it should have been! The Brewers led 8-0 entering the 7th inning before J.P. Feyereisen and Brent Suter gave up 7 runs (6 earned) in that inning, nearly ruining an excellent start by Freddy Peralta, who threw 6 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 8. The Brewers added 2 more runs in the bottom of the 7th to get more breathing room, but nearly gave the lead away again when Devin Williams and Josh Hader gave up a run each in the 8th and 9th innings. One of the biggest heartburn games of the young season at that point.
July 30, 2021 - Brewers 9, Braves 5
In one of Corbin Burnes’ few duds of the year, the Braves scored against him 4 times in the 1st inning before he was able to settle in. Luckily, it was also one of the few times he got plenty of run support. The Brewers rallied for 4 runs in the 3rd inning and another 4 in the 4th, although Atlanta was able to rack up Burnes’ pitch count to the point where he was done after just 4 innings. The bullpen picked up the slack, though, with Brad Boxberger, Jake Cousins, Williams and Brent Suter combining to allow just one hit through the game’s final 5 innings. Adames was a huge factor in the game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run, while deadline acquisition Eduardo Escobar also homered.
July 31, 2021 - Braves 8, Brewers 1
The final score looks worse than it was, as it was a close 3-1 game through 6 innings before John Curtiss had one of his blowups during his limited tenure before getting hurt (although one could argue his ineffectiveness may have been an indicator of a looming injury). Brandon Woodruff labored through 101 pitches over 5.1 innings to start the game, allowing 9 hard-hit balls before Daniel Norris finished the 6th for him. Then came Curtiss’ blowup in the 7th, which ended with him getting charged for 5 runs on 4 hits while only recording 2 outs. The lack of offense meant this was a loss even without that implosion, though, as rookie Kyle Muller limited the Brewers to 1 run on 4 hits over 5 innings. Dansby Swanson ended the game with 2 home runs and 7 RBI. Woof.
August 1, 2021 - Brewers 2, Braves 1
Milwaukee’s pitching rebounded in a big way, allowing the team to scratch out a win despite just 3 hits. Charlie Morton, who is starting Game 1 of the NLDS, was very good, allowing 2 runs on those 3 hits over 6 innings, striking out 6. Luckily, so was Anderson, who limited Atlanta to 1 run and 3 hits over 5.2 innings. Curtiss, Boxberger, Williams and Hader were able to keep the Braves scoreless after that.
Six games, with three games going to each side. We’ll have to see how the next few shake out.