Conventional wisdom suggested that based on the pitching matchups between the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, runs would be at a premium in the first two games of the National League Division Series at American Family Field. That has indeed been the case, with a total of six runs scored over the course of the two contests. The Brewers came out ahead in yesterday’s tilt, but the Braves got the best of the Cream City Nine in Saturday afternoon’s contest.
Brandon Woodruff got the start for the Brewers and like Corbin Burnes the day before, battled some early control issues. Unlike in game one, however, Woodruff was unable to keep the opponents off the board. A walk in the first inning and a wild pitch in the second wound up being harmless, but in the third, center-cut pitches to Atlanta hitters got Woody in some trouble. Jorge Soler doubled on a middle-middle fastball with one out, then Freddie Freeman singled him home on a curveball at the knees but down the middle to start the scoring. The next batter, Ozzie Albies, then golfed a changeup below the knees — but down the middle — off the top of the wall in right field that was ruled a double and upheld on review. Freeman scored, making it 2-0.
Milwaukee’s offense, however, couldn’t do much of anything against lefty Max Fried. Christian Yelich singled in the second, Avisail Garcia singled in the fourth, and Willy Adames doubled in the sixth. None of them advanced past second, and no one else reached base against Fried, who punched out nine batters across 6.0 scoreless innings while making the Brewers look mostly helpless. He got an additional run of support in the sixth, too, when Austin Riley took Woodruff deep to make it a 3-0 game. Woody turned in a quality start — 6.0 innings, five hits, three earned runs, and seven strikeouts versus one walk — but as was the case for much of the season, he just didn’t get enough run support.
With Fried out of the game, the Brewers tried to start a two-out rally in the seventh against Luke Jackson. Luis Urias singled and Lorenzo Cain walked on four pitches. Former Texas AirHogs pitcher Tyler Matzek was then summoned and after some bait-and-switching with Dan Vogelbach, who was immediately replaced by Tyrone Taylor as pinch-hitter. Matzek punched out Taylor, then came back out for the eighth and walked Jace Peterson and allowed a single to Kolten Wong to put two runners one with nobody out. He buckled down, going K—F9—K get out of the frame unscathed.
Another would-be rally started in the bottom of the ninth against old friend Will Smith. Yelich led off with a walk, then Luis Urias singled. Lorenzo Cain lined out to right, which brought up Luke Maile, who had entered the game at catcher after the Vogelbach-Taylor pinch-hit situation. On the first pitch, he hit an 82 MPH slider on the ground to third base, which was successfully turned into a double play to end the game. The Braves won 3-0 to even the best-of-five series at one game apiece.
Tomorrow will be a travel day, with game three scheduled for Monday afternoon at 12:07 PM central. The Brewers have yet to announce their starter, though the most likely scenario would be Freddy Peralta. The Braves will go with righty Ian Anderson.