MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers take on the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series this week. The first game is Friday at American Family Field; first pitch is at 3:37 p.m. Here's everything you need to know about the series.
The Brewers have a regular season record of 95-67, while the Braves have a record of 88-73, the worst record among the playoff teams. Since they have the better record, the Brewers have home field advantage for the series.
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Interestingly, both teams had better records on the road. Atlanta's home record was 42-38, while their road record was 46-35. Similarly, Milwaukee's home record was 45-36, while their road record was 50-31.
The Brewers won the National League Central Division; the Braves won the National League East. They split six match-ups during the regular season, with each team going 1-2 at home.
It’s a best of five series:
- Game 1: October 8 at American Family Field
- Game 2: October 9 at American Family Field
- Game 3: October 11 at Truist Park in Atlanta
- Game 4: October 12 at Truist Park
- Game 5: October 14 at American Family Field
The winner will play in the National League Championship Series against either the San Francisco Giants or the winner of LA Dodgers/St. Louis Cardinals wild card game-winner in a best of seven series.
The Braves started in Boston in 1912. After losing fan support in Boston due to the Boston Red Sox, the franchise moved to Milwaukee in 1953 before moving to Atlanta in 1966.
The late Hank Aaron broke the all-time home run record while the team was in Atlanta, but he won a World Series Title and MVP award while playing in Milwaukee.
The Brewers spent their first season as the Seattle Pilots in 1969. After one year, they moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers.
The Braves are postseason regulars. They have made the playoffs in 22 seasons and have won one World Series (1995) since they moved to Atlanta. They’ve lost four other times in the World Series: 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999.
The Brewers are in the playoffs for the eighth time and for the fourth straight season, a franchise record.
They have won three NL Central Division titles (2011, 2018, 2021) and have earned three wild card berths (2008, 2019, 2020).
Before they moved to the National League in 1998, the Brewers played in the American League where they won two division titles in the American League East Division in 1981 and 1982.
Their only World Series appearance came in 1982, when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.
ABOUT THE BRAVES
The Braves won the National League East, a surprising feat since two of their best players missed much of the season and will not play in the postseason. Outfielders Ronald Acuña Jr. has a torn ACL, and Marcell Ozuna is facing assault charges.
The Braves made several trades at the trade deadline in July to remake their outfield, adding Jorge Solar, Adam Duvall, and Eddie Rosario.
Names to know:
- First baseman Freddie Freeman was the league MVP last season.
- Third baseman Austin Riley is a young power hitter.
- Pitcher Max Fried
- Second baseman Ozzie Albies
- Shortstop Dansby Swanson
ABOUT THE BREWERS
For the first time in recent years, the Brewers starting pitcher is the highlight of the team. Corbin Burnes might win the Cy Young Award, an honor given to the best pitcher in the MLB. The team's two other notable pitchers are Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta. Meanwhile, Josh Hader remains one of the league’s best relievers.
However, the Brewers' offense is inconsistent. Christian Yelich has not returned to his MVP form.
Other names to know:
- Right fielder Avisail Garcia
- Shortstop Willy Adames was acquired in a trade in May. The Brewers were 21-23 when he started his first game, and they immediately turned into one of the hottest teams in baseball. When acquired, he was hitting a paltry .197, making his impact all the more stunning.
- Kolten Wong is free agent acquisition from St. Louis. He's a good lead-off hitter and great defender.
- Luis Urias was acquired in a trade last year, but he had a miserable 2020 season due to injuries and COVID-19. Now, he's a big part of the offense. He plays third base most days but can play shortstop and second base too.
Generally, this series is viewed as a toss-up. Analytics website FiveThirtyEight gives the Braves a better chance, while Vegas oddsmakers view the Brewers as more likely to win the NLCS or World Series.
To win NLDS:
- Braves: 54%
- Brewers: 46%
To win NLCS:
- Dodgers: 35%
- Giants: 24%
- Braves: 19%
- Brewers: 16%
- Cardinals: 6%
To win World Series
- Dodgers: 25%
- Giants: 13%
- Braves: 9%
- Brewers: 7%
- Cardinals: 2%
Odds (via betMGM):
To Win NLCS
- Dodgers: +200
- Giants: +250
- Brewers: +325
- Braves: +500
- Cardinals: +1000
To Win World Series
- Dodgers: +400
- Giants: +600
- Brewers: +800 (roughly translates to “8 to 1 odds”)
- Braves: +1200
- Cardinals: +2000