The Milwaukee Brewers head to Atlanta Friday for game one of a weekend series with the Braves. Both teams find themselves in tight battles in their respective divisions. The Brewers are just two games back of the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central Division. The Braves are also in second place, one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the National League East Division. There should be a playoff atmosphere in the air tonight in game one.
Starting tonight for the Brewers is Freddy Peralta (5-2 3.54 ERA), and for the Braves it is the newly acquired Kevin Gausman (5-9 4.47 ERA). This game is basically even money as the Brewers are tiny -106 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:35 PM PST from Sun Trust Park in Atlanta.
Kevin Gausman did not pitch well this season for the Baltimore Orioles before being traded to the Braves at the Jul 31st trade deadline. He was 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA for Baltimore, and the Orioles lost twelve out of his last fourteen starts before they moved the former prized prospect. His career in the National League didn’t start out well either as he didn’t pitch great in his Atlanta debut last week.
In his first start with the Braves, he pitched just five innings against the putrid New York Mets and allowed three runs on six hits and two walks and the Braves lost the game. It wasn’t the type of performance the Braves were hoping to get out of Gausman, to say the least. Gausman should have his hands full tonight against a Brewers team that has a lot of pop. The Brewer are eighth in the majors in home runs this season, and that was before they brought in power guys like Mike Moustakas and Johnathan Schoop to bolster their lineup at the trade deadline.
Freddy Peralta has electric stuff. The guy can strike just about anybody out, any time that he wants. His issue has been consistency. The twenty-two-year-old rookie has been a bit all over the place this year for Milwaukee. His punch-out numbers are elite, he has seventy-one strikeouts in fifty-three and a third innings of work so far this season. But he has times where he tries so hard to strike everyone out, that he can’t get very deep into games as his pitch count swells.
Peralta has seemingly dialed it in recently as in his last two starts he has pitched a combined ten innings and has allowed just three earned runs. He has fourteen strikeouts in those ten innings, and the Brewers won both games. Peralta has one start this season against Atlanta, and he performed very well. On July 6th, he held Atlanta to just one run on three hits in six innings of work, and the Brewers won the game.
This is going to be a great series. Both teams are playing hard and made several moves at the trade deadline to get better. Both teams are hoping these new acquisitions start to produce results though as it has been a slow start for both squad’s new guys.
The Brewers picked up Johnathan Schoop from the Baltimore Orioles, and he is hitting just .133 with no home runs in eight games with Milwaukee. They also picked up Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals, who has faired a little better, as he is hitting .268 with two long balls in twelve games with the Brew Crew.
The Braves are having similar struggles with their new additions. We already talked about Gausman’s less than thrilling debut where he dropped a decision to the worst team in the National League, the New York Mets. The Braves biggest move at the deadline was to bring in power slugger Adam Duvall from the Cincinnati Reds. Duvall is a guy that has 30+ homerun power. Duvall has really struggled in a Braves uniform as he is hitting just .154 with no homers in six games with Atlanta.
I don’t like Kevin Gausman. I know this guy was once thought to be the next big thing, but he has spent the last five years in Baltimore being mostly terrible. He has had flashes of being the guy everyone thought he would be when he was a high draft pick in 2012, but overall the body of work has been bad for Gausman, and I was surprised to see the Braves go after him.
I think when you look at these two teams they are very evenly matched. I think both teams will find a way to make the playoffs this year and this could very well be a preview of the National League wild-card play-in game as if the season ended right now these teams would both be wild cards. But I just can’t back Kevin Gausman.
He is a guy I have been betting against all season long, and he showed in his first start for the Braves that he isn’t likely to get much better in the new uniform. Peralta scares me a little bit as he could end up going just four or five innings, but I still feel that at even money, the Brewers are the side to back. Give me the Milwaukee Brewers at -106 tonight in game one from Atlanta!