In this Aug. 15, 2011 file photo, the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun follows through for a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Milwaukee. Braun won the National League MVP Award after batting .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs.
On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2013 season.
The Opponent: Throw out Monday night's uninspired loss to the lowly Chicago Cubs in a weird situation of a one-game trip to make up a postponed game from last month. The Rangers are, or at least should be, still riding high after a three-game weekend sweep of the red-hot Boston Red Sox and now head to Milwaukee for a short two-game set against a team on a five-game losing skid.
Past 2013 Meetings: The teams haven't met since 2010, when the Rangers took two of three games at Miller Park but the teams are old American League rivals from back in the day. In fact, the Rangers are a dead-even 77-77 all-time in Milwaukee.
Pitching Matchups: Tuesday — Justin Grimm (2-1, 2.28 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (2-2, 6.00); Wednesday — Derek Holland (2-2, 2.74) vs. Kyle Lohse (1-3, 3.16).
What's Hot: The Rangers' offense came to life over the weekend against the Red Sox, but that was at home where the Rangers always seem to cure any offensive woes. Even still, Adrian Beltre seemed to get off the skid that had plagued him through the season's first month with a 4-for-4 night on Friday and a walk-off RBI single on Sunday to complete the three-game sweep. Mitch Moreland's bat is still scorching, even against left-handed pitching. With Yu Darvish's success almost a given, the most encouraging pitching performance of the weekend came from Alexi Ogando, who showed a lot on Saturday. Derek Holland has been good all year with the exception of a start in Anaheim, and that was the case on Friday when he shut down the Red Sox over eight innings.
Not much is hot for the skidding Brewers, but outfielder Carlos Gomez is on quite a streak, hitting .435 with two bombs over the last week. Yuniesky Betancourt got off to a scorching start and despite cooling off is still showing some power for the Brewers from a guy who's never really been a big source of power. Then, of course, there's Ryan Braun, who's 11 for his last 24.
What's Not: Nelson Cruz has cooled off since his typical blazing start in true Nelson Cruz fashion. Despite his big home run on Sunday to tie the game the Rangers eventually won, he's hitting just .208 over the last seven days. A.J. Pierzynski has tailed off in a big way, hitting just .118 with seven strikeouts over his last 17 at-bats.
After a pretty hot start to his career, rookie shortstop Jean Segura, who came over from the Angels in the Zack Greinke trade last season as the Angels' top prospect, has cooled off, hitting just .217 over the last week but he has shown some pop with two home runs in that time. Lohse is coming off a rough outing in which he gave up 11 hits and four runs over five innings against the Cardinals, his former team. Then there's the John Axford saga, the former shutdown closer for the Brewers who is now on the verge of being sent to the minors. He's sporting a 12.00 ERA, has lost the closer's gig and has given up four earned runs in his last three outings.
Familiar Faces: There aren't many current players with ties to both teams, but Nelson Cruz began his career in the Brewers' organization before being brought over as a bit of a throwaway in the Coco Cordero trade. He played in eight career games for the Brewers and was kind of labeled as a career minor leaguer as a "Four-A" player in the mold of what Chris Davis used to be, or more approrpriately, Jason Botts. There are several people in the Brewers' front office and coaching staff with Rangers ties, starting with former Rangers GM Doug Melvin, who's now the Brewers' GM. On the coaching staff, bench coach Jerry Narron, hitting coach Johnny Narron and bullpen coach Lee Tunnell all were previously with the Rangers organization.