Series preview: vs. Brewers
When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday (SPSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Monday: Braves LH Mike Minor (13-7, 3.19 ERA) vs. RH Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.26)
Tuesday: Braves RH Freddy Garcia (1-2, 1.31) vs. RH Tyler Thornburg (3-1, 1.96)
Wednesday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (10-10, 4.44) vs. RH Kyle Lohse (10-10, 3.51)
About the Braves:
Batting: The Braves reached double-digit hits for the second time in 18 games in Sunday’s division-clinching win over the Cubs. Freddie Freeman had three of the Braves’ 12 hits, registering his 16th three-hit game of the season. He set the tone with a two-run homer in the first inning. Andrelton Simmons hit two home runs for his second career multi-homer game, giving him 17 this season. That marks the most home runs by a Braves shortstop since Jeff Blauser hit 17 in 1997. The Braves lead the NL with 177 home runs.
Pitching: Minor gave up three runs in a wild first inning Tuesday against the Nationals (three walks and wild pitch), but he followed with five shutout innings before the Braves blew a ninth-inning lead. The Braves have lost Minor’s past three starts (while he’s 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA) after winning six of his previous seven. With his next save, Craig Kimbrel will become the first NL closer to reach 50 saves since Eric Gagne (2003) and John Smoltz (2002) had 55 saves in back-to-back seasons.
Miscellaneous: The Braves went 3-3 on the just completed trip to finish the regular season with a 40-41 road record. They return to Turner Field where they lead the majors with a 52-22 home record and turn their attention to winning home-field advantage for the playoffs. Entering Sunday night, the Braves were one game up on St. Louis for the best record in the NL.
About the Brewers:
Batting: Shortstop Jean Segura has been out since Wednesday with a strained right hamstring but manager Ron Roenicke said Sunday he hopes to use him during the Braves series. Segura went 6-for-13 with a double, a homer and a stolen base against the Braves in June. Aramis Ramirez was 7-for-16 with a double, a homer and six RBIs in his previous five games entering Sunday. Norichika Aoki reached base eight times on six hits and two walks in the first two games of the St. Louis series.
Pitching: Estrada is 4-3 with a 2.62 ERA in seven starts after missing two months with a hamstring injury. He gave up three runs in seven innings of a 4-3 win vs. the Cubs in his last start. He pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 5-0 win the last time he faced the Braves on Sept. 11, 2012. Brian McCann is 5-for-11 vs. Estrada. Thornburg, a Riverwood High School graduate and a 2010 third-round pick by the Brewers, faces the Braves for the first time. He’s made three straight quality starts since rejoining the Brewers rotation, allowing only four earned runs in 18 innings.
Miscellaneous: The Brewers had lost three in a row entering Sunday night’s series finale against the Cardinals. The Braves haven’t faced the Brewers since June 21-23, when they lost two of three at Miller Park, including two via 2-0 shutout.