Franchise records, big power and slow starters: What to watch when the Crew heads to Atlanta

May 6th, 2022

The Brewers head to Atlanta this weekend in search of their sixth series victory in a row.

These clubs last met during the 2021 NLDS, when the Braves won in four on their way to a World Series title.

Here are three things to watch in the Crew’s upcoming matchup against the defending world champs.

An Opportunity to Make History

Brewers history will be within reach when Eric Lauer makes his fifth start of the season on Friday night.

With a third-straight double-digit strikeout performance, Lauer would own the franchise record for consecutive games with 10 or more punch outs by a left-handed pitcher – last set by legendary Teddy Higuera with two in a row in 1988.

The southpaw will have his work cut out for him against an Atlanta lineup that hits left-handed starters at a significantly higher clip than righties. The Braves have a .252 batting average vs. lefties with just a .211 batting average vs. righties.

The good news for Lauer is the Braves have been hampered by strikeouts early on. Atlanta hitters rank top-5 in MLB in strikeout rate at 25 percent. It’s a number to keep in mind as the Brewers starter goes for a team record.

Top Home Run Hitting Clubs

After an offensive eruption in Milwaukee this week, the Brewers have climbed to first in the National League in home runs. The team right behind them? The Braves.

Atlanta has been racking up homers despite the absence of Ronald Acuna for most of April. Their lineup has blasted 31 this year, with power bats Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies combining for 13.

Fueled by a power surge from Rowdy Tellez and Willy Adames, the Brewers are a far cry from a team that was once struggling to create runs. The Crew has slugged 35 home runs – 20 in the last six games – on their way to scoring 54 runs over the past two series.

The long ball has been a big factor for each of these teams this season. With the top power hitting National League lineups set to square off, look for home runs to play a decisive role in the matchup.

Will the Braves Continue Their Slow Start?

While the Brewers have enjoyed a strong start to the season, the Braves have stumbled out of the gate.

Sitting in third place in the NL East, Atlanta holds a 12-15 record with their longest win streak at just two games so far.

The Braves have shown flashes of dominance, especially from their bullpen, but they’ve been held back by poor outings from the starting rotation. Atlanta’s starters have accumulated a 4.71 ERA, ranking fifth worst in the NL. Aside from magnificent starts from Kyle Wright and Max Fried, Braves pitchers have logged just one quality start through the first month.

Luckily for the Brewers, they’re slated to avoid Wright this weekend. However, they’re set to face Fried on Saturday.

It will be key for the Crew to take advantage of a starting rotation that’s still finding its footing by generating early runs throughout this series.