Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#905 Milwaukee Brewers vs.
#906 Philadelphia Phillies
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Eric P.

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The Milwaukee Brewers take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday evening in game two of their four-game series from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Phillies raced out to a lead early in Monday’s opener behind Vince Velasquez’s strong start and RBI. The Phillies had lost three of four heading into the mid-week series but still sit just behind both the Nationals and the Mets in the NL East standings. The Brewers look like one of the hottest teams in baseball and one of the biggest surprises after taking three of our games against the Dodgers at home over the weekend. It’ll be Milwaukee’s pop against Philadelphia’s timely hitting once again on Tuesday and it’ll be interesting to see which style will prevail. Which team will get game two and control of the series as we enter Wednesday’s matchup?

Brewers Look To Extend Early Season Success

The Brewers are filled with confidence after dominating the Dodgers’ series over the weekend and suddenly, more and more people are starting to see them as legitimate threats in baseball. Fans will be a little hesitant now that Corbin Burnes had made his way to the injured list, with few details surrounding it all according to MLB.com, but still has one of the best staffs in baseball to step up in his absence. On the offensive side of things, Travis Shaw has shown his power to be a problem for opponents so far this year, leading the team in home runs (5) and RBI (21), despite only hitting .221 on the year. Of batters that qualify, Avisail Garcia leads the team in batting average but is only hitting .222 himself, which is a concern for the team. Jackie Bradley Jr. has struggled coming over to the National League in the off-season and is only hitting .189, while budding star Keston Hiura is only at .152. As if that wasn’t enough for the coaching staff to worry about, injuries continue to plague the offense with Lorenzo Cain and Christina Yelich only combining to play in 16 games combined this year. The poor offense makes it even more remarkable that they’re sitting atop the NL Central standing.

According to MLB.com, Eric Lauer will make his second start of the season after his opening gem last time out against the Dodgers after spending some time at the alternate training site. The 2016 first-rounder from Kent State University got shelled in the spring, with a 14.40 ERA across five innings of work in three games, but fans wouldn’t have been able to tell after his last outing. Against the Dodgers, he went five innings, allowing four runs and no runs. He only struck out three and the Brewers offense was ready to back him up. It’s still unknown if this is just another hidden gem by the Brewers or a one-hit-wonder that’ll revert back to expected form this week.

Lauer only has that single start against the Dodgers from last week on his resume for this year and his last start against the Phillies came in 2019, finding the win while he was with the Padres. In that start he went six innings strong, allowing one run on two hits and striking out three. According to ESPN, the Philadelphia lineup has 24 at-bats all-time against Lauer, with nine hits, good for a .360 batting average, with three walks and four strikeouts. It has been a while since he’s seen many of these batters but they haven’t seen Lauer with as much confidence as he’ll take to the mound on Tuesday.

Phillies Depth Continues To Shine Through

Philadelphia has relied heavily on their depth this year as they’ve had to find ways to juggle their lineup, with five different players who have over 35 at-bats all hitting over .300. In addition, three different players lead in the three major offensive categories when talking about batting average, home runs, and RBI. Bryce Harper continues to enjoy his time with the Phillies, hitting .317 with a .446 OBP, while Rhys Hoskins leads the team in home runs with eight to go along with his 16 RBI and .241 average. Didi Gregorious is the third part of the trio, as his timely hitting has seen him take over the team lead in RBI with 17. J. T. Realmuto continues to be one of the most underrated players in baseball, hitting .312 on the year. The key so far has been the idle infield reserves, Jean Segura and Nick Maton, both hitting above .300 and have helped hold down the offense and defense alike in the early going. The Phillies will be looking for some more pop from players not named Hoskins or Harper, and if they can evolve that side of the offense, they could see themselves become the most dangerous team in the division.

According to MLB.com, Aaron Nola will get the ball for the Phillies on Tuesday night and will look to improve his recent form, where he has a 4.85 ERA over his last two starts. Overall though, he’s found quite a bit of success against the Brewers that he can build on in this start, as he’s 3-0 all-time against them. The 2014 first-rounder out of LSU leads the lead with six starts already on the season to go along with his complete game. He’s only 2-1 so far on the year with a 3.11 ERA, striking out 39 in 37.2 innings. He’s only walked five on the season which has allowed him to stay in games. Last year, Nolan led the league with two complete games, and with more offense behind him, this go-around has been seeing more success.

The last time Nola faced the Brewers was a struggling no-decision start back in 2019. In that game, he only made it through three innings, while striking out three, walking three, and allowing three runs. In 2018 he had another difficult start against the Brewers, allowing seven hits and four runs in 4.1 innings, allowing four walks, and striking out another four. 2017 saw a little more success from Nola, getting a win and no-decision in two starts against Milwaukee. According to ESPN, Nola has faced current Milwaukee hitters a number of times in his career, allowing 16 hits for a batting average of .305. He has struck out 11 but has also allowed two home runs, one each to Yelich and Bradley Jr.

Best Bets for this Game

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Milwaukee is riding all the momentum, even dispute losing the series opener on Monday, and continues to find a balance between defense, offense, and strong pitching, towards win after win. What seems also separate the Brewers this year is their inability to lack confidence, even after a loss, and that’ll show on Tuesday. Lauer is slightly inexperienced but even if he pitches half as well as he did against the Dodgers last week, he’ll give the Phillies everything they can handle and then some. Cain made his return to the lineup in a big way on Monday and will be a welcome addition back to the Milwaukee lineup for the foreseeable future, especially to team up with Shaw. The Phillies are incredibly strikeout prone and the Brewers offense will expose them for that issue and make the Philadelphia offense scratch and claw for everything they can.

Prediction: Brewers (+155)

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Lauer likely won’t pitch a shutout like he did last time against the Dodgers, and Nola hasn’t exactly been a shutout machine himself. Both teams will score, but don’t expect this to be a high-scoring affair for either side. Both teams have power on their side and those long balls will make it easy to see the scoreboard light up quite a few times, even if the big rallies are relatively unseen. Additionally, according to covers.com, in games between the two teams, the over is 19-7-1 in the last 27 meetings in Philadelphia. For the Brewers, the over is 4-0-1 in their five games overall against a team with a losing record and is 3-0-2 in their last five road games against a team with a losing record.

Prediction: Over 8
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years.  After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. We are glad to have Eric on OUR Team.