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Braves Vs. Brewers: Prince Fielder Can Thank Mike Minor For Breakout Day

Wednesday, April 6
(3-3) Atlanta Braves - 4
(2-4) Milwaukee Brewers - 5

Box Score
Video Highlights

Prince Fielder Breaks Out:
Prior to Wednesday's game, Fielder was 3-17 with no homers or RBI, two walks and two strikeouts. That included a 0-10 stretch that dated back to Sunday. However, he broke through with a 3-4 day against the Braves on Wednesday, driving in three runs and scoring twice.

The Braves' gameplan prior to this game was pitching Fielder away with offspeed stuff, but Mike Minor ditched that with bad results. Fielder's RBI single in the first inning came on a fastball up and away. He saw four fastballs in his second at bat, which led to another single in the fourth. He drove a third single hard up the middle in the fifth on another fastball up. Fielder didn't cause an out until the seventh inning, when Eric O'Flaherty got him to fly out on a fastball.

Bad Luck Having Its Way With Braves Offense:
Aside from the three-run home run by Jason Heyward, the Braves again struggled to score runs in Wednesday's loss. Through six games, they are ranked 16th in baseball in runs scored and 19th in hits. However, one stat stands out when sorting through the team's offensive numbers - strikeouts.

As a team, the Braves have 23 strikeouts, which is third best in MLB. Their K% of 14% ranks second in baseball. They are making contact. The problem? Making solid contact. Their line drive percentage of 13.4% is third worst in baseball, while their ground ball and fly ball rates rank in the top 10. This has led to a .226 BABIP.

Obviously, none of this means anything because it's six games, but it is interesting to see such extreme contact rates go unrewarded for an entire team. If anything, it shows how random baseball can be over the stretch of a week.

Stat of the Day:
Minor had one swinging strike for his entire outing. He threw 24 pitches in the first inning and only nine were strikes.

WPA Winners:
(ATL) Jason Heyward: .249
(MIL) Prince Fielder: .194
(MIL) John Axford: .171

WPA Losers:
(ATL) Mike Minor: -.219
(ATL) Dan Uggla: -.133
(ATL) Alex Gonzalez: -.128

Game graph courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Brewers fans check out Brew Crew Ball.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.