If looks could kill... (Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE)

Series Preview: Atlanta Braves Home Opener vs. Milwaukee Brewers


 

At least we have a couple wins under our belts to go into Atlanta and play for the home crowd for the first time in 2012. This will also be Chipper’s last home opener (as a player) in Major League Baseball and for the Atlanta Braves so it should be packed. The offense got a spark in Houston after Chipper came back to the lineup and if all goes to plan, they will continue to hit the ball.

The Brewers are easily the best team Atlanta has faced thus far and  a significant jump in talent from the Mets and Astros.

 

Pitching Matchups

Friday 4/13, 7:35

On the mound for the Braves: Jair Jurrjens

On the mound for the Brewers: Randy Wolf

This is likely the Atlanta’s worst pitching matchup of the series as Jurrjens has yet to put it all together and the Randy Wolf is the Brewer’s best left handed pitcher. Both pitcher’s have struggled early however and it may just boil down to who has the worst outing.

Saturday 4/14, 7:10

On the mound for the Braves: Mike Minor

On the mound for the Brewers: Shaun Marcum

Minor had a solid outing against the Mets in the first series of the season but knocked up a bit in his last inning (the fifth). There is no reason to expect him to do any less than what he has done this Spring. He has looked good and this should be his breakout season. Marcum on the other hand has struggled a bit so far giving up 2 home runs in his first game. He lasted 6 innings and gave up 5 hits for 3 earned runs.

Sunday 4/15, 1:35

On the mound for the Braves: Brandon Beachy

On the mound for the Brewers: Chris Narveson

As usual the Braves will get two lefties in the 3 game series. Fortunately, like with the Astros, Narveson is one of the back end of the rotation guys. He isn’t a horrible pitcher however and has a career ERA of 4.61 and FIP of 4.12. He’s not great by any means but he is a solid 5th string and any time there is a lefty on the mound against the Braves, it’s something to be worried about. Brandon Beachy will look to tune it up a notch in his second game of the season. His first outing was decent; he did better than the game line would suggest because of some horrific defense but his control wasn’t where it normally is (3 walks in 5 innings).

The Braves lucked out in this series avoiding both of the Brewer’s aces, Yovanni Gallardo and Zack Greinke.

 

Rolling & Strolling

Rolling:

Atlanta Braves:

  • Jason Heyward- Say hello to the J-Hey kid. He’s back and hitting at a clip of .316/.381/.632 with 6 hits in 19 at bats including a double, a triple, and a homer. He leads the team in runs (tied with Uggla) RBI and stolen bases.
  • Tyler Pastornicky- Pastornicky hasn’t been playing as much as he probably should be, but when he does get in the game he has been making it count. He is hitting .250/.357/.667 so far with a homer and a triple. What has impressed me the most about TP though is his approach at the plate. It has been fantastic, especially for a rookie. The at bat he homered in was ten pitches long including 5 balls fouled off. He has 2 walks and 1 strikeout.
  • Chipper Jones- A Braves lineup isn’t complete without Chipper involved and we found that out when he came back and set things on fire in Houston. He only has 9 at bats but he has already homered and is near the top of Braves leader boards in runs and RBI.

Milwaukee Brewers:

  • Corey Hart- Hart has 3 homeruns in 6 games and is hitting a ridiculous .353/.500/.941 so far this season. Half of his hits have been out of the park and of the other three, 1 was a double.
  • Ryan Braun- The reigning NL MVP started off slower than most people would like, but he is hitting .304/.370/.565 with a homer and a stolen base.
  • George Kottaras- .375/.444/.1.125. That slash won’t last and is yet another example of why you can’t look into early season stats but if it isn’t enough to get a spot in the rolling category I am not sure what is. He has 2 homers in 4 games and leads the team in RBI so far.

Strolling:

Atlanta Braves:

  • Michael Bourn- Bourn has looked bad so far this season and is sporting a .125/.192/.167 line to prove it. He has 6 strike outs to 2 walks and only has 3 hits in 24 at bats.
  • Freddie Freeman- After a solid couple outings in New York, Freeman looked dreadful in Houston going 3 for 14 with 6 strikeouts. His biggest weakness last year looks to be back again in 2012 as Freddie leads the team in K’s with 9 strike outs. That’s a 34.6 K% guys.

Milwaukee Brewers:

  • Aramis Ramirez- Ramirez only has 2 hits in 26 at bats good for a .091/.192/.182 slash.
  • Nyjer Morgan- Morgan has a telling .190/.190/.190 slash line after hitting just four singles in 23 at bats. Guess what else? He doesn’t have a walk.
  • Alex Gonzalez- Everyone’s favorite offensive defensive shortstop has 1 homerun this season but only 4 total hits in 26 plate appearances. He is repping an all too familiar line of .167/.231/.375 line.

 

Wrap Up

The Braves need to take advantage of an underperforming Brewer’s offense, especially when we have the added bonus of going up against there 3, 4, and 5 guys. Like every 3 game series taking 2 of 3 would be nice but the team has a legitimate chance to get the sweep. It will be interesting to see if Heyward keeps batting low in the order, and if Tyler Pastornicky is allowed to play the entire series.

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Milwaukee Brewers Series Preview