Game 1 – Brewers 6, Braves 3
The Brewers sent freshly minted ace Eric Lauer to the mound to square off against Jesse Chavez and the Braves. Continuing recent trends, the Crew struck early, scoring two on a double by white-hot Rowdy Tellez in the first inning. Over the last seven days, Tellez has carried a sizzling 1.562 OPS with four homeruns and 15 RBI. Player of the week incoming in 3, 2, 1…
Lauer continued his recent streak of stellar pitching, holding the Braves down for 6 ⅓ innings, allowing just two runs on two hits. Lauer didn’t reach the ten strikeout plateau for a third straight start, but he did strike out eight, walking three. On the negative side for the lefty hurler, he did give up an mammoth solo homerun measured at 450 feet to Ronald Acuna Junior in the fourth inning, but limited the damage beyond that to an RBI sacrifice fly.
With the score knotted at two, the Brewers struck for four runs in the sixth the unconventional way (for them) with no homeruns. An RBI groundout by Lorenzo Cain, a bases loaded walk by Willy Adames, and a two run single from Christian Yelich gave the Brewers a four run lead heading into the late innings.
Jandel Gustave surrendered a solo home run to Dansby Swanson in the eighth, but Josh Hader came on in the ninth inning to nail down the save and remains a perfect eleven for eleven in save opportunities. Hader retired the side in order to preserve Lauer's win, moving him to 3-0 on the season.
Game 2 – Braves 3, Brewers 2
In game two, the Brewers put Corbin Burnes on the mound against Max Fried. Fried has been tough on the Brewers in three career starts. In 14 career innings against the Crew, Fried has a 2.57 ERA, allowing just 9 hits and no home runs.
Both aces worked through the first four innings relatively quickly. In the fifth inning the Braves broke through on Burnes first, with Ronald Acuna Jr. smashing his second home run in two days, putting the Braves on top 1 - 0. The Braves tallied again in the bottom of the sixth on an Ozzie Albies single pushing the lead to two. Overall, Burnes pitched well again, going six, striking out seven, scattering six hits and a walk.
The Brewers put one back on the board with a home run by Hunter Renfroe, number six on the season, in the seventh inning. With the Brewers within a run, skipper Craig Counsell turned to freshly called up bullpen arm Luis Perdomo to work the next two innings. Perdomo gave up a run in the bottom of the eighth on a Travis d’Arnaud single, giving the Braves a 3-1 advantage moving into the ninth inning.
Counsell will surely be questioned for his use of Perdomo for two innings in a one run game. It’s a fair question to ask. The answer or answers certainly won’t be black and white. Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Trevor Gott, Brad Boxberger, and Hoby Milner all have ten or more appearances early in the season and the team is less than thirty games in. It’s also important to remember they’re working with a short spring training schedule and there’s fewer days off worked into the schedule, and that’s going to have an impact on how managers use their bullpens throughout the season. It's going to be interesting to see how these dynamics play out over the course of the full season, and how managers and general managers handle both their bullpen usage and roster management throughout the full course of 162 games.
In the ninth, Christian Yelich doubled and scored on a Tyrone Taylor single, pulling the Crew within a run. The rally was snuffed out on a strike out-throw out double play when Rowdy Tellez struck out and Taylor was caught stealing to end the game.
Burnes' ERA stands at a stellar 1.86 ERA after six starts, but he's standing on a 1-2 record right now. Through those six starts the Brewers offense is averaging 2.89 runs per game. Of course run support is random, and not a skill or anything a pitcher can influence, but with Burnes continuing to pitch so effectively, and averaging over six innings per start, the team and Counsell have to find ways to put themselves into position to win those close contests more consistently. The win-loss record of the pitcher doesn't matter nearly as much as the team getting the W, and the Brewers are 2-4 in Burnes' starts.
Game 3 – Braves 9, Brewers 2
Aaron Ashby took the mound for the Brewers in the rubber match against the venerable Charlie Morton. Problems with control plagued Ashby in his start today, to go along with several softly hit balls falling in or finding holes in the second inning that produced a four run rally for the Braves that put the Brewers behind a big number early.
The Brewers threatened a big inning in the top of the second, with two walks sandwiched around a Tyrone Taylor single, but a Lorenzo Cain strikeout, followed by a Jace Peterson fly out to center snuffed out the early rally. The Braves loaded the bases in the bottom of the second with one out, but didn't fail to capitalize like the Brewers did. A bases loaded walk, followed by an RBI ground out brought two runs in. Matt Olson blooped a shallow fly to left that managed to find a hole for a double and bring two more runs in. Nothing in the inning was hard hit, but Ashby struggled to find the plate, walking two, and free runners on base when the bloops and bleeders found those holes put the Crew in a 4-0 hole.
The Brewers put two more runners on base with one out in the third, and again failed to move runners around to score. Solo tallies in the third and fourth would finish Ashby's day.
The Braves tacked on a three run home run by William Contreras off of Jandel Gustave in the fifth inning, putting the Brewers in a massive 9-0 hole. There was to be no Mother's Day magic this day however. The Crew scored twice in the eighth inning, with Mike Brosseau knocking in a run with an RBI single and a run scoring when Christian Yelich grounded into a double play. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Brewers would muster today as they dropped the series to the Braves and drop to 19-10 on the season.
The Brewers move on to Cincinnati in the middle stop of a three city trip starting Monday night with Brandon Woodruff on the mound. The Reds are hanging out at the very bottom of the standings at 4-23, so hopefully a trip to Cincinnati can reignite the bats and end the short two game skid.
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