Brewers outlook for series with the Giants
By Beau Adams
The Milwaukee Brewers are sitting at 18-13 and in second place in the NL West after getting swept in their three-game set in Colorado against the Rockies. The Brewers will look to recover this weekend as they are headed to San Francisco for a three-game series against the Giants. Corbin Burnes will take on Sean Manaea for the first game of the series. Burnes has a 3-1 record but holds a 4.01 ERA. However, Burnes is slightly better on the road with a 2.95 ERA and .082 WHIP.
The Giants are hitting right-handers like Burnes very well. They have an OPS of .812 as a team against righties and a league-leading 17 at-bats per home-run rate. Considering the Giants will face two righties back to back, with Rae pitching Saturday, it doesn't bode well for the Brewers.
Manaea has been getting rocked on the mound this season and has a 7.85 ERA going into Friday night's game. Despite Manaea's bloated ERA, the Brewers are struggling at the plate against lefties. As a result, their OPS this season drops from .750 down to .605 when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. That .605 OPS against lefties is the worst in MLB.
On Saturday San Francisco will be starting right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb against Colin Rea. Cobb has been surprisingly impressive in his first six starts. He has struck out 33 batters in 33 innings and holds a solid 2.43 ERA. What's even more remarkable is he has only walked four batters this season.
The Brewers are still favorites in the series against the Giants, with most analysts expecting a 2-1 Brewers split. The Brewers are favored by 1.5 runs on Friday. I'm not as optimistic for Friday to go the Brewers' way; they will need their best bat against lefties to come through.
Friday's game and, subsequently, the series against the Giants will hinge on Joey Wiemer. Against left-handed pitchers, he is leading the Brewers with a .320 average and two home runs. Rowdy Tellez has been heating up as late as well. He is hitting .393 in May with nine total bases and this homerun.
Tellez and Wiemer will be critical in the Brewers series again the Giants. It is an oddly important series for early May, but if the Brew Crew wants to regain their place atop the NL Central, they will need Tellez and Wiemer to do it. Fortunately, The Brewers are still sitting 1.5 games behind the Pirates after they were swept by the Rays in their last series. My prediction for the series is Giants win Friday, and the Brewers take Saturday and Sunday.