Pittsburgh Pirates: Previewing First Home Series of 2020


As the Pittsburgh Pirates prepare to host the Milwaukee Brewers in their first home series of the 2020 season, let’s take a look at previewing what is to come in this three-game series.

This past weekend the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off their 2020 season with a three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals. After a frustrating one-run loss in the series opener and being blown out in game two, the Pirates won the final game of the series to start the season 1-2.

Now the Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing for their first home series of the season. In their first regular season games at PNC Park in 2020, the Pirates will welcome another divisional foe, the Milwaukee Brewers, to town.

The Brewers also lost their season-opening series over the weekend. After dropping two of three against the Chicago Cubs, the Brewers will bring a 1-2 record into PNC Park on Monday night. They will be led by right-handed pitcher Adrian Houser.

Last season, House pitched in 35 games with 18 of them being starts. Across 111.1 innings of work, Houser posted a 3.72 ERA and a 3.88 FIP. While he did struggle some with the home run ball allowing 1.13 HR/9, he walked just 8.0% of batters faced and struck out 25.3%.

Opposing House on Monday night will be lefty Steven Brault. In 2019 Brault posted a 5.16 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 10.5% walk rate, and a 19.8% strikeout rate in a career high 113.1 innings pitched. These 113.1 innings pitched came in 25 games, 19 of which were starts.

Brault will piggyback this start on Monday night. While Derek Shelton has not confirmed as much, the strong belief is that the pitcher who will follow Brault will be Chad Kuhl. The righty has not pitched in a MLB game since 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. It will be fun to watch what Kuhl and his electric stuff can do this season with new pitching coach Oscar Marin.

In their MLB careers, both Brault and Kuhl have found success against the Brewers. Brault owns a 3.94 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 59.1 innings of work against the Brewers in 16 games, 10 of which have been starts. Kuhl has made six career starts against the Brewers, pitching 33 innings. Against the Brew Crew, he owns a 1.91 ERA and he has struck out 34 batters in his 33 innings of work.

Tuesday night, ex-Pirate Josh Lindblom will start for the Brewers in his return to the MLB from Korea. The Pittsburgh Pirates will counter with lefty Derek Holland. While he has yet to appear in a regular season game for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Holland has already made history after becoming what appears to be the first player in MLB history to get ejected from a game with a team before appearing in a game for them. This came after arguing balls and strikes on Sunday afternoon.

Holland will be looking to bounce back after posting a 6.08 ERA and a 6.10 FIP in 2019 with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs. These numbers came in 84.1 innings of work across 51 games, eight of which were starts.

Finally, Wednesday night’s series finale will feature a match up of Opening Day starters. Joe Musgrove will take the mound for the Pirates, while Brandon Woodruff will make the start for the Brewers.

Musgrove pitched the first game of the Pirate season last Friday in St. Louis. In a game where he pitched better than his final line, Musgrove allowed 3 runs in 5.2 innings of work. The third run he allowed was one that scored after he exited the game.

As for Woodruff, coming off a breakout season in which he was a National League All-Star, Woodruff went just 5 innings in his 2020 debut. Woodruff allowed 2 runs on four hits, a walk, a home run, he hit a batter, and five strikeouts.

Another story line to watch in this series involves Gregory Polanco. The starting right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates is currently on the 10-day injured list due to testing positive for the coronavirus. However, he is back to working out at team facilities and Shelton has said he will rejoin the team this week. Look for Polanco to get back into the Pirate line up at some point in this series.

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All three games of this series are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. Each of the games will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, and can be heard on the Pittsburgh Pirates Radio Network.