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Braves, Brewers Clash in Weekend Set

Milwaukee Tries to Keep Pace In NL Central

The Atlanta Braves try to snap a three-game losing streak when they open a three-game weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night. The first pitch for the series opener is set for 8:10 pm ET at American Family Field in Milwaukee.

Atlanta is coming off a three-game sweep at home by the Toronto Blue Jays, including an 8-4 loss on Thursday. The Braves are 17-20 and tied with the Miami Marlins for third in the NL East, 2½ games behind the second-place Philadelphia Phillies.

Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves hits a two-run homer in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Milwaukee dropped two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals in their last series, falling 2-0 in Thursday’s finale. The Brewers are 20-18 and in second place in the NL Central, trailing the first-place Cardinals by three games.

Looking at MLB odds, the Brewers have a moneyline of -125, while the Braves are at +115. The over/under for this contest is set at eight runs.

Streak Stopper?

The Braves will give the ball to left-hander Drew Smyly, with the 31-year-old looking to improve on a 1-2 record and 6.12 ERA. Smyly has 22 strikeouts and 11 walks over 25 innings, though he’s also allowed nine home runs.

Smyly picked up his first win in his last start, going six innings against Washington on May 6 and allowing no earned runs on four hits while striking out four and walking four. That snapped a personal two-game losing streak for Smyly.

Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. had a solid series against Toronto, going 3-for-11 with two solo home runs. Acuna leads baseball with 12 home runs and is tops on the Braves with a .302 batting average, 24 RBI, and 39 hits.

The Braves were holding their breath when Acuna went down in the seventh inning on Thursday trying to beat out an infield single. He landed awkwardly, and there was a worry that he hurt his left ankle, but X-rays after the game were negative.

“He was trying like hell to beat the throw and probably hit the bag wrong,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after the game. “Those are scary moments for players, especially when they’ve got the torque and force he’s running with. So, I’m just glad the X-rays were negative.”

First baseman Freddie Freeman is second on the team with nine home runs and tied for second with 21 RBI, though he’s hitting just .214. He does have hits in four of his last five games, so there’s hope.

Offensive Struggles

The Brewers could use some heating up themselves after managing a total of seven runs over their last four games, including just one run in an 11-inning loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. Milwaukee ranks 28th with a .213 team batting average and 25th with 139 runs scored.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia leads with a .265 batting average and 31 hits and is tied for the team lead with five home runs. Third baseman Travis Shaw has a team-best 24 RBI and is tied with Garcia with five home runs. Shaw has six hits over the last four games, with four of them being doubles.

Right-hander Adrian Houser will be on the mound for the series opener. Houser is 3-3 with a 3.44 ERA, striking out 31 and walking 11 in 36⅔ innings.

Houser got the win in his last outing, going six innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits, including a home run while striking out 10 and walking none in a victory over Miami. It was the third straight game and fifth in seven starts in which he’s allowed a ball to leave the yard.

Braves Take Opener

Atlanta has too many big bats to be held down for long. Assuming Acuna is healthy and able to go in this one, the Braves should be able to put some runs on the board against Houser.

Milwaukee’s offense has been struggling, with Christian Yelich having played 10 games and currently sitting on the injured list. The Brewers will continue to struggle until the former NL MVP is in the lineup again.

When making your MLB betting picks, go with Atlanta to win on the road.

Pick: Atlanta Braves +115

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