Overall, the Brewers have a lot of unknown variables at work going into this season. It’s unlikely that they will all work in the Brewers favor, though. If Thames’ production translates from Korea, Shaw develops and sees an improved performance, Santana and Broxton have breakout years, and the rotation solidifies, then the Brewers could contend for one of the Wild Card spots. However, the most probable way this season ends for the Brewers though is another losing season and a likely 4th place finish.
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Despite this, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a history of having difficulties against the Brewers. Last season the Pirates did have a winning record against Milwaukee but only just, going 10-9. Overall, they only have a .500 record against them (38-38) since 2013. This despite the Pirates putting out three playoff teams and the Brewers generally having bad teams during this span.
Theoretically, the Pirates schedule against the Brewers should benefit them as they are stacked towards the end of the season. As with the Reds, the Brewers could be out of contention with little to play for by then. This could benefit the Pirates who may have a chance to amass much-needed wins down the stretch to earn a playoff berth. The Pirates don’t meet the Brewers until the second month of the season (May 5th in Pittsburgh). Because of this, the Pirates should have an idea about whether the Pirates will see the expected lackluster Brewers or the best case version I mentioned above.
*Stats courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference
*Offseason additions and departures courtesy of espn.com