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Giants-Brewers Series Preview #2

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The Brewers are all but assured to make the playoffs. Does that mean they’ll let the Giants win one?

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into this season, the Giants hadn’t lost a home series to the Brewers since 2010. They emphatically lost a four-game set at AT&T Park back in July in a series that might’ve buoyed their slim playoff chances (11.5%). The Brewers really needed those wins at the end of July because of their fluctuating playoff odds, which were at 53.2%. Good, but not great. But as of this morning, they’re at a comfortable 83.8%.

So, it’d be really great if they let the Giants win a couple of games.

Since 2011, the Giants have won six series at Miller Park and split one (a four-game series), so it’s not impossible. Unless you take a good hard look at the current state of the roster... then you might feel otherwise.

Buster Posey’s favorite place to hit is Miller Park. In 20 games (83 plate appearances), he has an 1.136 OPS, which includes 8 home runs. Oddly, while the 8 home runs account for one third of his 24 hits there, the only other extra base hits are a pair of doubles. So, it might be more accurate to say that it’s been very difficult for him to make outs in Milwaukee. Alas...

// Record stuff //

Since series in SF... MIL: 18-15 (4.80 ERA, 5.06 RPG) | SFG: 15-19 (3.41 ERA, 3.41 RPG)
Previous 10 games... MIL: 7-3 (4.35 ERA, 6.5 RPG) | SFG: 4-6 (2.93 ERA, 2.9 RPG)
MIL Home Record: 42-27
SFG Road Record: 29-43

// Pitching Probables //

Game 1: 5:10pm Pacific | Derek Holland (7-8, 3.81 FIP) vs. Chase Anderson (9-7, 5.28 FIP)

Game 2: 4:10pm Pacific | Chris Stratton (9-8, 4.32) vs. Gio Gonzalez (7-11, 4.24 FIP)

Game 3: 11:10am Pacific | Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 4.08) vs. Zach Davies (2-5, 4.84 FIP)

// Team Rankings //

Brewers Team OPS+: 97 (15th in MLB)

Giants Team OPS+: 86 (28th in MLB)

Brewers Home Runs: 184 (3rd in NL, 7th in MLB)

Giants Home Runs: 122 (14th in NL, 28th in MLB)

Brewers Team ERA+: 106 (13th in MLB)

Giants Team ERA+: 103 (17th in MLB)

// Top Hitters //

Christian Yelich - .316 / .380 / .556 | 147 OPS+

Jesus Aguilar - .276 / .357 / .552 | 139 OPS+

Lorenzo Cain - .309 / .402 / .434 | 125 OPS+

// Last Bits //

Brandon Crawford’s first major league hit was a grand slam that happened right here at Miller Park on May 27, 2011.

Hitter to Watch

Christian Yelich has simply been amazing. His .936 OPS (in 555 PA) is a career high. His 27 home runs are a career high. His 29 doubles are nine away from tying his career high of 38. His strikeout rate is up a little bit (22%) over his career (20.6%) and he already has 13 double plays grounded into, equally last year’s total.

But he’s also just 5 stolen bases away from matching his career best of 21 and he absolutely kills the Giants, both recently and historically. In the 4-game series from July, he went 9-for-17 with 2 home runs and 3 doubles. For his career, his line against our favorite team is .313 / .384 / .519 in 146 plate appearances. He’s really fun to watch and we will be seeing a lot of him on the basepaths this weekend.

Pitcher to Watch

Gio Gonzalez will be making his first start with the Brewers since they acquired him from the Nationals on August 31st. He’s walked 70 in 145.1 innings, and his 4.24 FIP is the highest of his career through that many innings. The 32-year old has had a shaky season and the Brewers acquired him because they needed a steady-ish hand in the rotation, but he just might be vulnerable enough for even the shaky Giants to get to.

He started against the Giants in both Nationals series this year and combined for 8.1 innings, 14 hits, 7 earned runs, 7 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Now that I’ve written 7 - 7 - 7, a portal to the center of the earth has opened, so be on the lookout for that.

Meanwhile, It’s important to remember that Sunday’s starter Zach Davies is one of the few Zachs who actually spell their name Z-A-C-H (he and Zach Britton), so, why do we assume all other Baseball Zacks spell their name this way?

Prediction

The Brewers take two out of three, but the Giants will win a game to help us remember what that feels like.