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Series preview: Rays vs Brewers

MLB: MAY 22 Nationals at Brewers Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays took care of business during their trip to the motor city taking three of four against the Detroit Tigers.

The Rays moved into the second wild card slot, a half game ahead of the Seattle Mariners while owning the important head-to-head tie breaker. The Rays are 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the top spot. The Baltimore Orioles are the first team 1.0 game behind Seattle with the Cleveland Guardians trailing by 1.5 games, the Chicago White Sox trailing by 2.5 games, and the Boston Red Sox are 4.5 games back.

The Milwaukee Brewers have faded while the St. Louis Cardinals have surged over the last week, winning seven games in a row. The Brewers are 2.0 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central and 1.0 game behind the last wild card.


Tuesday 8:10 PM: Jimmy Yacabonis vs Freddy Peralta
Wednesday 2:10 PM: Jeffrey Springs vs Brandon Woodruff

Freddy Peralta is just returning from injury. His last start was his first start back from an injury in May. He threw 3.2 innings and likely won’t throw more than 5.0 innings. His season has been a disappointment from his breakout 2021 season if you look at his 4.46 ERA, but his 2.19 FIP and 3.11 xFIP suggest he’s been as good if not better than last year. He’s only allowed a one homer in 42.1 innings. Peralta throws four pitches, but he relies on a 92.8 mph four-seam fastball that he throws 55% of the time. He mixes in an 80.6 mph slider, 86.0 mph changeup, and 77.0 curveball. All three secondary pitches show strong whiff rates of 34% or higher.

Brandon Woodruff has been one of the best starters in the National League over the last four years. This year is no exception as he’s posted a 3.49 ERA/2.79 FIP/3.35 xFIP over 85.0 innings. Woodruff is a five-pitch pitcher that throws a 96.1 mph four-seam fastball up in the zone and a 95.6 mph sinker down in the zone as his fastballs of choice. He mixes in an 83.7 mph curveball against batters of both hands while leaning on an 86.0 mph changeup to left-handed batters and 88.3 mph slider to right-handed batters.

The Brewers offense is sneaky good.

As a team they are hitting .240/.321/.419 and putting up a 106 wRC+. They hit for power with 151 homers that is good for third best total in the majors. They also can run with 67 stolen bases that ranks tenth. They are strikeout prone (23.1%) but do draw more than their fair share of walks (9.5%).

Christian Yelich isn’t the MVP candidate he was his first two years in Milwaukee but has rebounded off a weak 2021 campaign. He’s hitting .263/.364/.392 and putting up a 114 wRC+. The homers are down (8) but he leads the team in stolen bases (16).

Willy Adames leads the team in fWAR at 2.6. He’s hitting .220/.284/.461 and putting up a 104 wRC+. He is tied for the team lead with 22 homers.

Hunter Renfroe (121 wRC+), Rowdy Tellez (117 wRC+), Kolten Wong (113 wRC+), Luis Urias (102 wRC+), Andrew McCutchen (102 wRC+), and Omar Narvaez (94 wRC+) round out their lineup on most days.

There aren’t any great hitters in the lineup but there aren’t many soft spots either.