The Brewers have won the first two games of their three-game series against the Braves, and are within five games of the Cardinals, who hold the second Wild Card spot. For the first time since April 24, they have a .500 record.
The Braves, who lead the Wild Card race, will be looking to avoid getting swept in Wednesday night's series finale. They will turn to left-hander Paul Maholm, whom they acquired in a deal with the Cubs at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Maholm had pitched his whole career in the NL Central before the trade and is very familiar with the Brewers. Maholm has made 21 starts against Milwaukee in his eight-year career, going 3-10 with a 4.87 ERA.
While the Braves' lineup has been slumping of late -- they are averaging 2.85 runs per game in the last week -- Maholm is confident they will bounce back.
"We've been winning games," Maholm said. "We haven't been scoring a ton. But I've pitched against this [Braves] lineup plenty over the course of my career, and it's dangerous. It can break out at any time. You just try to go out there and throw up as many zeros as you can."
The Brewers will call on right-hander Yovani Gallardo to try to keep their hot streak going. Gallardo is coming off a solid start Friday against the Cardinals, who had long been his nemesis. Gallardo allowed two runs in six innings and struck out six in the Brewers' 5-4 victory.
"I think that was a big game for him going forward, knowing that, 'Hey, I just need to make pitches and I can beat anybody,'" Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Braves: Gonzalez not focusing on potential Wild Card opponents
While the Braves have a reasonably comfortable lead in the Wild Card standings, manager Fredi Gonzalez said he isn't watching the scoreboard to see who the Braves might play in the Wild Card game. Instead, Gonzalez is focused on catching the Nationals, who lead the Braves in the NL East by 7 1/2 games.
"We just keep plugging ahead and somehow try to catch the Nationals, which, they seem like they never lose," Gonzalez said. "I don't really like to look at the standings. I just like to take care of our business. When somebody taps me on the shoulder and says, 'Hey, OK, we're in.' We'll figure something out after that. Other than that, we just keep plugging away."
First baseman Freddie Freeman turns 23 years old Wednesday. Freeman went 1-for-5 with an RBI in the Braves' 5-4 loss to the Marlins in 12 innings last year on his birthday.
Freeman is hitting .262 with 19 home runs this season.
Brewers: Hart remains sidelined with foot injury
First baseman Cory Hart will miss his third straight game Wednesday due to an injury to the arch of his left foot. Hart was injured in the fourth inning of Sunday's loss to the Cardinals and has not played since.
Hart will be outfitted with a custom foot support Wednesday, and hopes that and the Brewers' off-day Thursday will allow him to be ready for their weekend series against the Mets. Hart said the injury is quite painful, rating it a 10. But he is optimistic he will be able to play through it.
"We're so close to the end right now, and where we are [in the standings], I want to try to play," Hart said. "If I make it worse, I make it worse, and we have the offseason to recover."
The Brewers' eight-game winning streak at home is one shy of the franchise record, which was set in May of last season. This is Milwaukee's second eight-game winning streak at Miller Park this season. The club also won eight home games in a row from July 30-Aug. 17.
The Brewers are 43-28 at Miller Part this season.
Maholm has allowed more home runs (15) to the Brewers than any other team. Hart leads his teammates with three home runs against Maholm.
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will likely be playing his final game in Miller Park on Wednesday. The Brewers will hold a pregame ceremony honoring the future Hall of Famer. Left fielder Ryan Braun, who got to know Jones when they played together in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, is scheduled to participate.