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Brewers Vs. Braves: Atlanta Faces Tough Test To Begin Four-Game Series Against Milwaukee

The Braves are attempting to right the ship after losing two of three to the Cardinals to begin their homestand. They begin a four-game series against the Brewers at 7:10 on Peachtree TV and Fox Sports South.

Brewers Lineup:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Carlos Gomez, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Corey Hart, RF
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
8. Wil Nieves, C
9. Yovani Gallardo, SP

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Dan Uggla, 2B
5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
6. Alex Gonzalez, SS
7. Nate McLouth, CF
8. David Ross, C
9. Jair Jurrjens, SP

Yovani Gallardo (36.1 IP, 5.70 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 4.13 xFIP, 3.22 BB/9, 5.7 K/9, 47.1 GB%, 6.9 SwStr%)
(56.6 FB%, 23.1 SL%, 17.3 CB%, 3 CH%; 42.9 Swing%, 83.3 Contact%)
Jair Jurrjens (22 IP, 1.23 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, 2.05 BB/9, 5.73 K/9, 50.8 GB%, 7.7 SwStr%)
(63.2 FB%, 21.4 CH%, 15.4 SL%; 49.5 Swing%, 84.6 Contact%)

Gallardo has had two good starts out of six this season, and the one against the Braves was by far the best. He pitched a complete-game shutout on two hits, inducing 16 ground balls. Otherwise, Gallardo has struggled, giving up seven runs and six runs in two of his starts. His strikeouts are down considerably, which was noticeable even in the Braves game considering he struck out just two. His fastball velocity is down some and the pitch is getting hit hard. His contact percentage on pitches out the zone is also up considerably.

Jurrjens has been one of the hottest pitchers on the team since his return from the disabled list, allowing a total of three runs over 22 innings. His most recent outing was two runs on nine hits over nine innings against the Padres, his first complete game of his career. Jurrjens is receiving a large amount of luck from a .262 BABIP and 92.6 LOB%, but his ground ball rate is also at 50.8%, his best since 2008.

Opposing Numbers:
The Braves don't have much success against Gallardo. Nate McLouth leads the team with seven hits in 27 plate appearances. Martin Prado is 2-12 with one double. Dan Uggla is 2-12. Chipper Jones is 2-9 with a homer and two RBIs. Alex Gonzalez is 2-8 with a double. Jason Heyward is 0-4.

Ryan Braun is 2-7 against Jurrjens, while Prince Fielder is 2-5 with a double. Corey Hart is 1-6 with a homer. Wil Nieves is 0-4. Yuniesky Betancourt is 1-3 with two RBIs.

What to Look For:
Gallardo always gives the Braves a tough time, and Atlanta's hitters have poor numbers against him in their careers. Getting to Gallardo should be the key to this game.

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.