Baseball is finally back at Turner Field. A sold out crowd is expected in Atlanta as the Milwaukee Brewers come in for a three-game series. Given the heated history between these two clubs, you can bet this weekend's series should be a great one. Milwaukee comes in with a record of 4-3.
The Brewers lost slugger Prince Fielder in the offseason, but they're still a solid club. The Braves will be fortunate to miss their two aces in Yovani Gallardo and Zach Greinke, although that does mean they'll face two lefties in Randy Wolf (Friday) and Chris Narveson (Sunday). The ever-underrated Shaun Marcum will take the mound on Saturday.
As for Atlanta, Jair Jurrjens will take the mound on Friday night. Mike Minor will hope for a little better luck and a little better defense on Saturday evening. Brandon Beachy will go on Sunday afternoon.
Rickie Weeks is a solid leadoff option for the Brew Crew and he is usually followed by center fielder Carlos Gomez. National League MVP Ryan Braun got off to a bit of a slow start this year, but he seems to always save his best for the Braves. Aramis Ramirez is the new third baseman, Corey Hart remains a staple in right field and has killed the ball thus far in the season, and Matt Lucroy will handle the catching duties.
Entering Thursday, the Brewers were one of the better offensive teams in the National League. This is a team that always seems to find hitting in one place or another, and the Braves pitchers will not be able to leave pitches up in the zone and get away with it if they hope to win. These guys aren't the Astros or Mets.
The Milwaukee bullpen is pretty solid, anchored by closer John Axford and setup man Francisco Rodriguez. They walked an awful lot of batters in the first week of the season, but those numbers should come down a bit. Most relievers are rusty at this point, anyway.
A few tickets remain to the games this weekend, so be sure to get yours before they run out. We need to get Turner Field back to being one of the best home field advantages in baseball.