Coming off a terrific showing Sunday against the Nationals, the Braves and Brian McCann face the new-look Brewers.
For the Braves, the focus of this game for many fans will be on the performance of Brandon Beachy. After winning a closely-contested battle (Beachy was terrific throughout Spring Training.) for the fifth starter spot over high-level Braves pitching prospect Mike Minor, Beachy has recently been vaulted into fourth starter status following the injury to Jair Jurrjens (though he is slated to be back in the rotation within a couple of weeks). With Jurrjens injured, the role of Beachy will be even more important to the success of the team. If Beachy can provide solid innings and keep the Braves competitive during games consistently, he will both assure his spot at the back end of rotation, and ease the fears of many Braves’ fans about his ability to fill in his temporarily heightened role. Today, he will be facing off against pitcher Chris Narveson, who is beginning his first season as a rotational pitcher for the Brewers, and who may be equally important to the longevity and success of the Brewers’ season.
Offensively, the Braves will hope to continue their outstanding productivity, following an 11-run output on Sunday. Chipper Jones has been outstanding to open the season, and has provided above-expectations production, with an .385 average and several key hits in the Braves’ two victories. Coupled with the strong starts of Jason Heyward, Alex Gonzalez, and Brian McCann (who had 4 RBI’s in Sunday’s game), the outlook of the Braves game has been generally positive (disregarding the slow starts of Nate McLouth (*sigh) and Dan Uggla (I’m more confident that he’ll find an offensive rhythm soon) ).
Though the Brewers have struggled coming out of the gate (swept by the Reds in their first series), the team still remains talented. Ryan Braun has played well to open up the season (He hit the two home runs in the Reds’ series.), and Rickie Weeks has hit well from the leadoff spot in the lineup. (He also provided two home runs, along with four RBIs in the Reds’ series.)
Let’s all hope that the Braves can continue to gain momentum to begin their season, and move to 3-1 with a victory.