A lot is riding on the Pittsburgh Pirates shoulders as they head into the house of horrors that is Miller Park. The Pirates historically have not played very well in Milwaukee, that’s a fact that escapes no Pirates fan. While the Bucs have gone 4-6 in their past ten, the Brewers are 8-2.
The Pirates schedule which was so daunting at the beginning of the season, appears favorable the rest of the way. The Bucs have just nine of their final 32 games against contenders. The re-energized Pirates play a pair of three-game series with the Reds. The firest will be September 10-12 in the Great American Bandbox and then September 28-30 at PNC Park. The regular season wraps up with a three-game homestand against the hot as asphalt in August Atlanta Braves on October 1-3.
It says here for those final six games to have the utmost importance, big wins in Milwaukee this holiday weekend are necessary. The Bucs simply have to cool off the boiling beer makers to really gain ground in the pennant race.
Jeff Karstens will try and keep the Bucs impressive scoreless innings streak going in a ballpark where the Brewers always seem relaxed and confident against Pirates pitching. It won’t be an easy task, but remember Karstens scattered seven hits and gave up no walks when the Bucs pitching staff shutout the Beer Makers in PNC Park last Saturday.
Karstens left late in the game with a pulled right groing, but felt afterwards said that he would make his next start. Tonight, the Zombie gets to test it against a potent lineup. The Bucs pitching staff hasn’t had a consecutive scoreless streak this long since July of 2009.
The Brewers are playing very well right now and putting up some big offensive numbers. Milwaukee won two of three in PNC Park, the teams have split six games this year which is a major improvement for the Pirates who had gone 3-36 at Miller Park.
Another Pirates hitter to watch is Andrew McCutchen who looks just as comfortable as Ryan Braun at Miller Park. Cutch has hit bombs in each of his last four at Miller Park, while hitting .500 there this year.