clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Braves head to Milwaukee to face first place Brewers

Braves look to bounce back from back to back series losses

Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After a bumpy first home stand following the All-Star break, the Atlanta Braves hit the road to face the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have opened up a 2.5 game lead in the NL Central following an 8-2 run in their last 10 games including a sweep of the Reds.

The Brewers have built on their pitching for many years now, and even if their starting pitching is not what it once was due to the regression of Freddy Peralta and the constant injuries to Brandon Woodruff, they still have an elite bullpen. It is led by Devin Williams, whose high spin changeup has been one of the best pitches in baseball for the last several years. Joel Payamps who was involved in the three-way Sean Murphy trade has also been outstanding, sporting a 1.79 ERA in 45.1 innings. Abner Uribe has only made two big league appearances, but he has a 100 mph fastball to go with a wipeout slider.

A resurgent Christian Yelich has led the Brewers lineup, who has a 128 wRC+ and a 3.2 fWAR. He has been red hot in his last 30 games, with a 1.048 OPS in that timeframe. Since a slow April, Yelich has begun to resemble his MVP self. William Contreras has also been a key contributor, with his vastly improved defense and 119 wRC+ paving the way to a 3 fWAR.

On the injury front for the Braves, things are looking promising, with Max Fried’s return looking imminent. However, things aren't as smooth for Kyle Wright, who is not expected to return until September, at which point building him up for a playoff work load could be a challenge.

Friday, July 21, 8:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports Southeast)

Michael Soroka (4 GS, 23.1 IP, 17.8 K%, 8.4 BB%, 50 GB%, 5.40 ERA, 6.68 FIP)

Michael Soroka is yet to find his pre-injury form yet this season, which is to be expected, but despite the ugly numbers there are some encouraging signs for the 25 year old right hander. His velocity is the highest of his big league career and in his last two starts he has been solid, with a quality start and 4.2 scoreless innings in each of them. He has also maintained the high groundball rate which was a main part of his pre-injury success. The biggest issue for Soroka has been his slider. Back in 2019, the pitch had a 38.1 whiff% and an opponents batting average of .154. This season it only has a 22.2 whiff% and opponents are hitting .400 on the pitch. This makes sense as he has missed so much time and off-speed pitches are more feel based, but it is something to keep track of. He has also been haunted by the long ball giving up 2.31 HR/9. Home run prevention was one of the pillars of Soroka’s game back in the juiced ball 2019 season, so there is reason to believe that issue will be corrected. However, Soroka still has a ways to go to get back to his dominant best. Soroka has surprisingly never faced the Brewers.

Freddy Peralta (18 GS, 98 IP, 27.1 K%, 9.6 BB%, 39.2 GB%, 4.41 ERA, 4.49 FIP)
Freddy Peralta has not been as good as he was the previous two seasons where he was one of the better starting pitchers in baseball on a per inning basis. His HR/9 is over double what it was last season and he is getting barreled up much more. In 2022, his barrel% was in the 97th percentile whereas this season it is in the 31st percentile. That has meant he has not been as good even with adding nearly 2 mph on his fastball. He is still very good at generating swings and misses, the difference has been in the quality of contact, something the Braves could exploit. He is coming off a fantastic last time out against the Reds, going six scoreless innings while only allowing one hit. With Peralta, you know what you are going to get in terms of length, with the right hander going between five and six innings in all but one of his starts, where he got lit up in 2.1 innings. Peralta has had success against the Braves, pitching to a 3.08 ERA with 29 strikeouts over 23.1 innings. However he has had issues with walks in those innings, issuing 13 of them.

Saturday, July 22, 7:15 p.m. ET (FOX)


The Braves starter is TBD but it is expected to be Allan Winans making his big league debut. He has been very good in Triple A, with a 2.81 ERA in 102.2 innings.

Adrian Houser (10 GS, 57 IP, 15.5 K%, 7.6 BB%, 47.6 GB%, 3.79 ERA, 4.35 FIP)

Adrian Houser has been a quality starter for the Brewers even if it has not been sexy. His 1.53 WHIP is alarmingly high and his 6.16 K/9 is very low, but he has been able to avoid enough barrels to get by. He is in the 85th percentile for barrel% which is crucial for a pitcher who does not excel in any other areas. Houser is a heavy fastball pitcher, with the 30 year-old throwing either a sinker or four-seamer 72% of the time. In his last start he was one out away from a quality start, going 5.2 innings while allowing three runs. Houser has also been solid against the Braves over the course of his career, with a 3.06 ERA across 17.2 innings.

Sunday, July 23, 2:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports Southeast)

Bryce Elder (19 GS, 108.2 IP, 18.6 K%, 7.7 BB%, 54.3 GB%, 3.31 ERA, 4.20 FIP)

The wheels have come off for Bryce Elder the past couple starts. Over his last two starts, Elder has only lasted six innings and has given up 12 earned runs. The long awaited regression looks to be here, but even so his season stats are still sensational given the fact he was not even in the opening day starting rotation. In his last start against the D-backs he was let down by his defense, but a pitcher like Elder who is so dependent on ground balls is at the mercy of his defenders and batted ball luck. His slider has been hanging more lately, which has resulted in seven home runs allowed on the pitch, may of which have been in his last few starts. When he locates his slider, it is nasty, with opponents hitting .187 on the pitch. However, for a guy who throws 90 mph and mainly only relies on two pitches, the margins are small as Elder has seen in his last two starts.

Julio Teheran (9 GS, 51.2 IP, 16.8 K%, 5.3 BB%, 42.1 GB%, 4.01 ERA, 4.76 FIP)

Julio Teheran has had a late career renaissance with the Brewers this year. After only making one start between 2021 and 2022, Teheran is back and has been a quality starter for the Brewers. The big difference with Teheran now is that he has added a cutter which he throws nearly 30% of the time. That has seemingly gotten Teheran’s career back on track. Teheran was a quality starter for the Braves from 2013-2019 and this will be his first start against his old team. After dominating in his first six starts with the Brewers, sporting a 1.53 ERA in that time, he has struggled in his last three, allowing at least four earned runs in all of them. However, Teheran has used his strike throwing ability to eat innings at a solid level for the Brewers which has been pivotal for a rotation which has been ravaged by injury.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Battery Power Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Atlanta Braves news from Battery Power