The Braves' season-opening series victory against the Brewers in Milwaukee proved to be a matchup of the two best teams in the Majors in April. Atlanta ended the month 17-9 while Milwaukee owned a 20-8 record when play concluded on April 30.
The Brewers rattled off nine straight victories following the series against the Braves, a stretch that saw Milwaukee take over first place in the NL Central on April 5 and not look back. Atlanta, too, holds onto first in the NL East.
However, May has not been as kind to either team. The Braves are 6-11 in the season's second month while the Brewers have proven slightly better at 7-9. Both Mike Minor and Wily Peralta take the hill hoping to regain their clubs' April magic.
Minor enters Monday's contest with a 1-2 record and a 4.24 ERA. In his last outing, the left-hander looked great in 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Giants.
Peralta's been great through his first eight starts this season, tallying four wins to go along with his 2.05 ERA.
Offensive slumps have played a major role in each team's troubles. Atlanta has scored two runs or fewer nine times in 16 games this month, and Milwaukee has tallied only 3.5 runs per game in its past 10 contests.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke believes his team's aggressiveness at the plate, at times, exacerbates their offensive woes. The Braves, too, struggle with overeagerness in the batter's box.
Atlanta and Milwaukee entered Sunday with the two highest swinging-strike rates in the Majors at 11.9 and 11.5 percent, respectively, according to FanGraphs.com.
"That's when it's tough, and we knew we'd go through these things with this lineup," Roenicke said. "You just hope when you're going through it that a couple guys are still hot enough that you can get some runs."
The Braves also entered Sunday making contact on only 75.3 percent of their swings, the lowest rate in baseball. The Brewers were not much better, ranking 27th in the Major Leagues at 76.5 percent.
Atlanta has struggled despite its mostly injury-free season as Milwaukee can at least blame its batting problems on injuries to Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Jean Segura. Carlos Gomez has missed the past two games due to back and stomach issues.
"It's always challenging, but unfortunately, it seems to be today's game where players get hurt," Roenicke said. "So it's always something going on, somebody's injured and on the DL and it's rare that you don't have anybody on the DL. Last year, I got quite used to it, unfortunately."
Brewers: Ramirez taking his time with hamstring recovery
• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez plans to start participating in baseball activities when the Brewers arrive at Turner Field on Monday for a four-game set with the Braves.
Ramirez was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with a strained left hamstring, which is typically a tricky injury. He plans to do some light jogging on Monday and said he'll have a better idea of his progress after that. Roenicke stressed the importance of being cautious with Ramirez's hamstring.
"You do [have to be cautious] because you can't do it again," Roenicke said. If you do it again the next time, it's a month or more, so you really have to be careful."
Said Ramirez, "You don't want to rush it, especially a hamstring. So hopefully everything goes well."
Braves: Club loses first challenge
• Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez lost a managerial challenge for the first time in his sixth try this season on Sunday in St. Louis. A Dan Uggla throw pulled Freddie Freeman off first on a potential double-play grounder from Allen Craig.
Craig was initially ruled safe before Gonzalez issued the challenge. After a review lasting one minute and 42 seconds, the call stood.
• The Braves plated two ninth-inning runs on Sunday in a 6-5 win against the Cardinals. It was the most runs scored by Atlanta since a 7-5 win against the Mets on April 19 at Citi Field.
• The Braves lost three straight games in which they have scored first before winning on Sunday. Prior to Wednesday's 10-4 loss to the Giants, Atlanta had won 18 straight games when scoring first. It was the franchise's longest streak since winning 19 straight when plating the game's first run in 1983.
• The Dodgers (14) are the only National League team with more road victories than the Brewers' 13 this season.
• Craig Kimbrel needs only four more saves to tie John Smoltz's franchise record of 154.
• Marco Estrada allowed a pair of home runs in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Cubs, increasing his total allowed this year to 12. That ties the Brewer with Kansas City's Jeremy Guthrie for the Major League lead.
• Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks' two-run homer in the fifth inning of Sunday's game was his second homer in three games.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.