The Braves enter the series with a record of 8-12 and have proven to be a very streaky team through the first 20 games of the season. After a 1-1 start, Atlanta lost five straight, followed by a five-game winning streak. Next came a six-game losing streak, which came to a close in New York as the Braves have now won back-to-back games.
The Brewers enter with a 12-11 record and are winners of three straight following a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.
The ageless wonder Bartolo Colon will make the start on the mound for the Braves on Friday. Colon is 1-2 on the season and has pitched a total of 24 innings over four starts. In his last outing, the Philadelphia Phillies got to Colon for 11 hits and four earned runs, but he still managed to last seven innings. Since giving up six runs over four innings to the Miami Marlins in his second start of the season, Colon has allowed just five earned runs in his last 14 innings pitched.
Colon will be tasked with mission of shutting down Thames and trying to prevent being on the wrong side of history. Milwaukee’s first baseman has sprung into the national spotlight as he leads Major League Baseball with 11 home runs. That total, coupled with his 27 runs scored, have both set Brewers records for the month of April.
The home run record for the month of April is 14, set by Albert Pujols with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and matched by Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in 2007. The runs scored record for April is held by Larry Walker, who scored 29 runs as a member of the Colorado Rockies in 1997.
Thames enters the series as MLB’s leader in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) with 249. Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman comes in at third with 223 wRC+. Freeman is fourth in Major League Baseball in batting average (.380) while Thames is sixth (.370). Thames leads all batters in slugging percentage (.904) and Freeman finds himself in fourth (.775).
There is a question of health regarding Thames as he exited Wednesday’s game against the Reds in the eighth inning with a tight left hamstring. However, it appears to only be a minor issue and it’s unclear if it will have any affect on him in this series.
The Brewers will send out right-hander Chase Anderson for the series opener on Friday. Anderson has been one of the best pitchers in the league thus far in 2017 as he boasts a 2-0 record and a 1.13 ERA. Through four starts, Anderson has surrendered just five runs - three of which were earned - while compiling 22 strikeouts and six walks.
After suffering a groin strain in Wednesday’s game against the Mets, Brandon Phillips hopes to make a return at some point in the series against the Brewers.
Game Date/Time: Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:10 pm ET
Location: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: Braves Radio Network, 680 AM/93.7 FM