Probable Starting Pitchers
On Saturday, Chad Bettis will be making his second start of the season after his phenomenal seven-innings of shutout baseball in his return from testicular cancer and chemotherapy. He’ll be squaring off against Matt Garza (6-6, 4.38 ERA). (EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the publication of this article, the Brewers decided to switch Brandon Woodruff and Matt Garza in their rotation).
On Sunday, Kyle Freeland (11-7, 3.74 ERA) will be starting for the Rockies and he’ll be facing Chase Anderson, who will be making his return of the disabled list. His last start was on June 28 and during the game, he suffered from an oblique strain that has shelved on the DL since. He is 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA.
Anderson’s numbers have helped the Brewers in pitching stats as they are in the top half of the NL in most categories. However, one stat they have not done well in is walks as they nearly walk four batters per nine innings, bad enough for third worst in the league.
The Brewers bullpen
Before the trade deadline, the Brewers traded for two relievers (Jeremy Jeffress and Anthony Swarzak). Jeffress was traded just before the 2016 trade deadline to the Texas Rangers from the Brewers along with former Brewer and the newest addition to the Rockies, Jonathan Lucroy. However, they are both in set-up roles for one of the most under-rated closers in baseball: Corey Knebel. He was an All-Star this season and in his first season of closing, he has been lights out. He has a 1.41 ERA in 57 1/3 innings. Batters have hit .169 against him this season. In his past eleven games, he has pitched 12 innings and only allowed six hits, no runs, walked five, and struck out 19. In that span, batters are hitting .146 against him.
Josh Hader is another name of note as the rookie left-handed reliever has an ERA of 0.71 in 18 games and 25 1/3 innings pitched. He has allowed two runs all year and batters are hitting .133 against him.
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The Brewers offense
In 2017, the Brewers have had a lot of home run power. They have four players with 19 or more home runs (Eric Thames with 27, Travis Shaw with 26, and Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana with 19 a piece). They are second in the National League in home runs with 177. However, they are in the bottom half of the NL in nearly every other category.
The only other offensive category that they aren’t in the bottom half of the league is stolen bases. They have five players (Jonathan Villar, Broxton, Orlando Arcia, Hernan Perez, and Santana) who have double-digit stolen base numbers. Villar led the NL in steals in 2016 with 62. The team leads the NL in stolen bases with 101.
While the two teams are much different now then they were in early April, both teams are shocking the baseball world as they both stay relevant in the playoff hunt. This weekend could even be a potential wild-card game preview. It is not a series that you’ll want to miss!