Thursday MLB Preview – Brewers at Braves

The first place Braves may stumble in their first game back from the All-Star break.

Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves

Milwaukee starts the second half in third place in the NL Central division, trailing the first place Cincinnati Reds by 8.5 games. “There are a lot of games left,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “Our guys aren’t giving up, and I’m not going to either.” The Brewers begin a possible late-season charge against the National League’s best team, which may prove a tough hill to climb with the club going 0-5 against winning clubs since passing the midway point of the season. Milwaukee has been a decent road team this season, bringing a 20-23 record into this series at Turner Field, including a 5-3 mark as a road underdog of +150 to +175 (+520).

Brewers starting pitcher Dave Bush is 4-6 with a 4.14 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts) this season (-480), picking up a victory in his last outing. In that start, he allowed two earned runs and six hits over 6.1 innings in a 4-3 home win over the Pirates. The right-hander is an even 2-2 with a 3.92 ERA in eight road outings (seven starts), issuing 15 free passes and striking out 16 in 39 frames. Bush has made four career starts against the Braves, posting a 1-1 record and 2.33 ERA (+40). He one his only start at Turner Field, surrendering just a single run on four hits in seven innings.

Atlanta sits atop the NL East with a four-game lead over the New York Mets and look to replicate a previous dominating series over tonight’s foe. The team picked up a three-game sweep at Miller Park on May 10-12, outscoring the Brewers by a 28-7 margin. The Braves are an impressive 30-10 at home this season (+1,560) with the team averaging 5.0 runs per game and hitting combined .269 at the plate. Since May 19, Atlanta has produced a 19-4 record at Turner Field, while winning eight consecutive series. Manager Bobby Cox’ club has pummeled lesser teams this season, posting a 25-10 record against opponents with a losing record (+1,150).

Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in seven starts this season, with the team tallying consecutive over the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. In those games, he has allowed four earned runs and eight hits over 11 innings. Jurrjens is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three home starts, managing to fan 17 batters and walk just seven. He picked up a loss in his only career outing against the Brewers, allowing four runs and nine hits over seven innings.

Bettors may have an opportunity to score with the road underdog, as the Braves may struggle to capture its first-half magic in the opening game after the All-Star break. Milwaukee is 5-2 in its last seven games after an off day and 7-3 in their last 10 during Game 1 of a series.

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