Live Game Thread and Preview: Braves Brewers

 

Live Thread and Preview! Brewers / Braves – Game 1

The Atlanta Braves haven’t had a division title since 2005, and with a division title under their belt now, the Braves are also headed to the postseason for the 3rd time in the last four years.   With tears in his eyes after the NL East clinch yesterday, the division title was clearly important to manager Fredi Gonzalez, but he realizes the real battle is still ongoing – maintaining the best record and clinching home field advantage in the playoffs!

Right now, the Braves lead in that race is mere percentage points, so it will be vital the Atlanta Braves win as many of their remaining seven games in the regular season as possible, particularly in light of their amazing 52-22 home record, and a dismal below .500 road record.  The home field advantage race continues for Atlanta as the Milwaukee Brewers come to Atlanta for a three game series beginning this evening.

Game 1 will feature the Brewers’ RHP Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.26 ERA) against the Braves’ LHP Mike Minor (13-7, 3.19 ERA).  Estrada has pitched very well since coming back off a hamstring and back injury.  He’s 2-0 with an impressive 2.62 ERA in seven starts since returning from his DL stint, and he has struck out thirty batters in just over 27 innings in his past four outings.  That’s pretty good, and the Braves, prone to way too many Ks, will need to be patient.

Mike Minor has his fair share of struggles along with moments of brilliance this season, and had a good outing his last start with six solid innings of 3 run ball against the Washington Nationals.  Minor has struggled in early innings mostly, with a tendency to give up home runs, but if he can get past those first few innings, Mike has been very solid.

The Atlanta Braves will need to begin turning up their offense a notch as the playoffs approach.  They’ve put double digit runs on the board in just two of their past eighteen games, and all too often, we’ve seen small leads squandered with struggles from the bullpen.  Hopefully in the seven remaining games, Braves’ hitters will produce a little more in the run category to give a touch of breathing room to our struggling bullpen.

Game 1 Lineups

Atlanta

1. Jason Heyward (L) CF
2. Jordan Schafer (L) RF
3. Justin Upton (R) LF
4. Chris Johnson (R) 3B
5. Evan Gattis (R) C
8. Paul Janish (R) 2B
9. Mike Minor (R) P


Milwaukee

1. Norichika Aoki (L) RF
2. Carlos Gomez (R) CF
3. Jonathan Lucroy (R) C
4. Aramis Ramirez (R) 3B
5. Khris Davis (R) LF
6. Sean Halton (R) 1B
8. Jeff Bianchi (R) SS
9. Marco Estrada (R) P

 

Final Thoughts and Live Thread

Frankly, I know that Freddie Freeman certainly needs the rest.  The league MVP candidate has played well, and often this year, but with the Braves’ need to win as many games as possible down the stretch, one has to wonder about the wisdom of Joey T. at 1st.  The same can be said of playing Janish at 2nd.  Granted, his glove is as good as Elliot Johnson‘s, but I would argue his bat is not nearly as good.  All teams walk a fine line between resting players and fielding the best lineup though, so we’ll just have to hope the rest given will pay dividends later, with little damage in the present.

 

Join us tonight for our Live Thread!  We’ll talk all things baseball, and all things Braves!  Just scroll down to our comments section and rant, rave, gloat, groan, or whatever else floats your boat.  Just keep it clean! :)  Go Braves!

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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