Brewers: 3 X-Factors In NLDS Matchup Against Braves
By Tyler Koerth
With the regular season concluding, the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves are set to begin the National League Division Series starting on Friday October 8th. The NLDS is a best of five series in which Games 1, 2, and potentially 5 would be played in Milwaukee.
The upcoming series will mark the first time that the Brewers and Braves have matched up for a postseason showdown. It also will be the Braves first postseason game in Milwaukee since 1958 when they were known as the Milwaukee Braves.
In order to get to the NLDS, both teams had to win their respective divisions. The Brewers ended the year with 95 wins and the Braves won 88. However, both teams records now stand at 0-0. In this article, we are going to highlight three X-Factors for the upcoming playoff series.
Here are three X-factors in the upcoming Brewers-Braves matchup in the MLB Playoffs.
1. Home Runs
Upon conclusion of the regular season, the Braves finished with the third most home runs in the league with 239. Four of their players finished with more than 30 home runs whereas the Brewers failed to have one player meet that standard.
While the home run totals may seem quite scary, it also represents how dependent upon home runs the Braves are to generate runs. On the year, the Braves scored just 52 more runs than the Brewers. If the Brewers can limit the home run ball and avoid crooked numbers with this, they should have a good shot coming of coming out of this series victorious.
2. Starting Pitching
By now it is no secret that the Brewers have on of the best trio’s in baseball in terms of their first three starters in Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. Burnes recently just wrapped up the franchise’s first ERA title and Woodruff finished fourth. Peralta did not hit the minimum number of innings required to qualify.
On the season, Brewers starters logged a combined 3.13 ERA which was second best in all of baseball. The starters alone racked up the third most strikeouts when compared to other starters around the league and they gave up the fewest amount of home runs. For reference, Brewers starters gave up 77 long balls this season, the Giants had the second fewest with 85, and then the next best team was in triple digits.
With the Braves being a long ball team and the Brewers starters great at limiting them, the advantage should go to pitching.
3. Right Handed Batters
The Braves have a plethora of left handed pitchers in which a lot of them will see postseason game action. Starter Max Fried is left handed and has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the second half of the season. This means for whichever game he starts, Counsell with have to use his best lineup consisting of right handed hitters. This means Luis Urias could get a playoff start.
When you look into the Braves bullpen, closer Will Smith is left handed. Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter are also southpaws. All three of those players are likely candidates to play this series, which means Counsell may have to utilize a pinch hitter or two later in the game. Tyrone Taylor, Manny Pina, and again Luis Urias are all solid right hand bats that may come off the bench. How they perform in those situations could alter a game’s outcome.
Baseball often times is referred to as a chess match, and both managers will have tough decision to make in this upcoming series. However, the big storyline entering the series is that the Brewers have on of the best pitching staffs and the Braves are very home run dependent.
Now we just have to wait and see how that all unfolds.