After traveling to Atlanta to play the Braves during the first weekend of May, the Brewers will host them for another three-game series that starts tonight.
The Brewers have battled inconsistent performance, particularly in the field, for the past few series, but they still hold a 2.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central thanks to a strong 22-13 record. The Crew just wrapped up a series win against the Miami Marlins to improve to 5-5 in their last 10 games.
In Miami, the Brewers saw signs of life from second baseman Kolten Wong, who played in two games and homered in both. That showing boosted his wRC+ from 92 to 115. First baseman Rowdy Tellez also went deep in the series finale.
In a less positive development, shortstop Willy Adames suffered a left ankle sprain in the first inning of yesterday’s game. His current status is day-to-day, and his availability for this series is unclear.
The Braves, meanwhile, have gotten off to an underwhelming start following their World Series title last fall. They currently sit at 16-19, putting them 6.5 games behind the New York Mets for first place in the NL East.
New first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Austin Riley have carried Atlanta’s offense, leading the way with a 135 and 129 wRC+, respectively. After those two, a number of notable bats have struggled to get going. Second baseman Ozzie Albies has just a 96 wRC+, and power-hitting outfielders Adam Duvall and Marcell Ozuna have both limped to marks below 70.
Game 1 Monday, 6:40 CT: Freddy Peralta vs Ian Anderson
Peralta and Anderson are both among the better young arms in the game, but their surface-level stats have been uninspiring to start the year. Peralta owns a 4.40 ERA, and Anderson has posted a 4.20 mark.
For Peralta, however, that high ERA is misleading. A 2.37 FIP and .338 BABIP point to some unfortunate luck on balls in play. Peralta is still punching out 31% of opposing hitters, allowed just one home run and has looked strong over his last four starts.
Anderson, meanwhile, has seen his strikeout, walk, and home run rates all trend in the wrong direction, leading to an uninspiring 4.97 FIP. He’ll look to get back to form tonight.
Game 2 Tuesday, 6:40 CT: Adrian Houser vs TBD
The Braves have not announced a starter for the second game of the series, but the Brewers will send out sinkerballer Adrian Houser. The 29-year-old’s season has gone about how one would expect. He owns a 3.86 ERA and 3.37 FIP in six starts.
As a pitch-to-contact specialist, much of Houser’s success depends on how many ground balls are finding gloves. During his four starts, that was the case for most batted balls. In his last two outings, poor defense has coupled with worse batted ball luck to produce some underwhelming pitching lines.
Wednesday, 12:10 CT: Corbin Burnes vs Max Fried
It’s round two in this battle of the aces after the pair faced off in Atlanta. That game lived up to expectations, as each allowed just one earned run in an eventual 3-2 Braves victory.
There isn’t much more to say about this matchup that hasn’t already been said (or seen). Two of the game’s best arms will get to square off for the second time this month in the series finale.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.