Fresh off a series sweep of the Pirates, the Brewers hit the road again as they begin a three-game series with the Phillies on Friday. Winners of four in a row, the Crew have begun to see an injection of power at the plate. The Brewers hit home runs in each of their three games against the Pirates. Their 16 total runs are also the most in a series so far in the young season. On the mound, the combination of Burnes, Woodruff and Lauer was phenomenal. The trio combined for 24 strikeouts while giving up just three earned runs.
Philadelphia enters the series losers of three of their last four, putting them at 5-8 on the year. The Phillies have a top-heavy lineup, as off-season additions Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos coupled with Bryce Harper combined for 101 home runs last year. On the other side of the ball, their rotation has the potential to be one of the best in baseball, even if they haven’t shown it yet this season. 2021 NL Cy Young runner-up Zach Wheeler is fresh off a season that saw 14 wins, 2.78 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, and an impressive 247 strikeouts. The Phillies starters ranked fourth in fWAR (16.8) and fifth in xSLG (.379) in 2021.
The biggest threat in the Phillies’ lineup is 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper. Harper batted an impressive .309/.429/.615 to earn himself the honor for the second time in his career. Harper is a career .228 hitter in 48 games against the Brewers.
The off-season saw the addition of former NL Central rivals Schwarber (Cubs) and Castellanos (Reds) to the lineup. Schwarber saw a jump in numbers last season as a member of the Nationals and Red Sox. The power hitter slugged a career-high .554 while notching above 30 home runs for the third time in his career. Castellanos had a career year with the Reds, making his first All-Star team. Slashing .309/.362/.576 in 2021, Castellanos cashed in with a big five-year, $100 million contract with the Phillies.
Game 1, Friday, 6:05 pm: Freddy Peralta vs Ranger Suarez
Freddy gets the ball for game one, looking to improve off a rough start to the season. Peralta comes into the game still looking for his first win of the year. His last appearance went for just three innings, as he gave six earned runs to the Cardinals. History is not on his side, as his career record in four appearances against the Phillies is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA.
Ranger Suarez enters Friday with a 1-0 record, recording a win in his last start against the Marlins. His 5.87 ERA is in large part due to his first outing, a no-decision that included giving up three runs on five hits in just 2.2 innings pitched.
Game 2, Saturday, 3:05 pm: Adrian Houser vs Zack Wheeler
Houser had an improved start in his second game of the season against the Cardinals. Going 5.2 innings and only allowing one earned run, he has used his sinker more than any other pitch (55%), helping him induce plenty of ground balls and limit the damage.
Zack Wheeler also enters the game with an 0-2 record. His last start was an ugly one, giving up seven runs on eight hits in just three innings vs the Marlins. Wheeler, however, does have a history of success against the Brewers. In seven appearances, Wheeler has a 3-1 record with an ERA of 1.96. The question for Brewers fans will be which Wheeler we will see on Saturday.
Game 3, Sunday 6:00 pm: Eric Lauer vs Aaron Nola
The final game of the series will also be Milwaukee’s first — and so far only — game on ESPN this season. Lauer takes the mound following an excellent start against the Pirates on Monday. Lauer was able to nab his first win of the season, giving up just one run in five innings. Lauer has faced the Phillies three times, winning twice with a 1.42 ERA.
Aaron Nola rounds out the series with another impressive record against the Brewers. He enters Sunday’s matchup with a 4-1 record against the Brewers, his only loss coming in his most recent matchup against them. This season, he is 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.
The first two games of the series can be seen on Bally Sports Wisconsin, while game three will be on ESPN as a part of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. All three games can be heard on the Brewers Radio Network.
All stats via MLB.com, Baseball-Reference, and Statmuse