The Pirates are headed to Miller park, where they haven’t had any success at all in recent years. Since 2007, the Pirates are 4-38 in Milwaukee. That’s unreal.
Things are a bit different recently though. The Brewers are without Prince Fielder and just aren’t a very good baseball team. They are coming off a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which could mean they are heating up just in time to face their favorite team, but this season as a whole hasn’t been good for the Brew Crew. They are 23-28 and 2.5 games behind the Pirates.
Ryan Braun is having another really good season, although he’s not the MVP he was last year. He is hitting .309/.395/.608 with 14 bombs and 10 stolen bases. That’s a guy you have to be extremely careful with. Without the protection of Fielder behind him, the Pirates should be able to choose their battles carefully. Rickie Weeks has been bad this season hitting .158/.292/.294; they are getting little out of Mat Gamel at first with a line of .246/.293/.348 with just one home run, and Corey Hart has also left much to be desired despite hitting 10 home runs. One of the Brewers best bats has been Jonathan Lucroy, the catcher hitting .345/.387/.583 with five home runs. However, he’s on the DL and the Pirates won’t have to see him.
Despite those numbers the Brewers are still scoring 4.4 runs per game. The real problem is the pitching. They’re allowing 4.7 runs per game. The guys the Pirates will see this weekend don’t exactly scare you. Let’s take a look at those matchups.
Friday: Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.30) vs. Randy Wolf (2-4, 5.73)
Correia’s numbers aren’t great but he has made two solid starts in a row for the Pirates. He’s always a threat to get hit around, but you have to feel okay about him at this point. Randy Wolf has been brutal this year. He’s made a couple decent starts in his last two against the Giants and Diamondbacks. He went seven innings and gave up three to the Giants and went 5.2 giving up three runs to the D’Backs. Opposing hitters are hitting .313 off of him with six home runs. While nothing is easy for the Pirates these days, this could be a guy they could get well against.
Saturday: Erik Bedard (3-5, 3.12) vs. Shaun Marcum (3-3, 3.63)
This is the pitcher’s duel of the series. Both of these guys have been good this year. Marcum got roughed up two starts ago but bounced back nicely with seven strong innings against the Dodgers allowing just one run. He has allowed more than one run in every start but three, and often times that’s all the Pirates need. Hitters are hitting .236 off of him this year. Righties have actually been better than lefties against him, but it hasn’t been easy for anyone. He’s given up six home runs which is about average and he has a decent K/BB ration of 2.76, the Pirates will have to get a good start out of Bedard because you can’t see them scoring more than a couple off Marcum.
Sunday: James McDonald (4-2, 2.20) vs. Michael Fiers (1-0, 1.29)
This is the Pirates best chance to win with McDonald on the mound. J-Mac has been the closest thing to an ace as the Pirates have had in years and he’s on pace to be on the all-star team right now. He’s coming off his best outing of the year, shutting out the Reds for 8 innings. Michael Fiers is a rookie who has made just one start this year, and it was a good one. He went 7 innings and gave up just one run to the Dodgers on May 29. He struck out just three and walked one. Fiers is 27 years old so it’s not like he’s some impact prospect. I can’t see this guy being a dominant starter in the league, if he had that capability you’d think he would’ve been up sooner. He owns a 2.80 career minor league ERA with 9.6 K/9, so he definitely has some decent stuff. We’ll see what he has Sunday, but until you see more of him you have to give the advantage to McDonald.
The Brewers are as bad as we’ve seen them in quite some time. Dare I say it, the Pirates have a very good chance to win a series in Miller Park. Obviously you shouldn’t predict that with just how poor they have played in Milwaukee in the past, but this is a new team for the most part and the opponent isn’t nearly as good as before. It should be a fun one. Right now the Pirates have winning records against every division team except the Cardinals, and they can add to the Brewers to that list with a couple of wins this weekend.