After their nine-game winning streak snapped, the Milwaukee Brewers (12-11) have gone 1-3 and face a tough, upcoming opponent. The team has been efficient all around, but they have a huge home stand that lies ahead. For the Pittsburgh Pirates (15-10), 2013 has been strong for the club, as they currently are first in the NL Central. The Pirates are coming off a series win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Let’s get into it.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot to be happy about. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Pirates are hoping that in 2013, they break a 20 year drought of not finishing over .500. With the way they’ve started the season, the Pirates are posing to be a real threat, especially when their pitching is locked in. Rookie Jeff Locke has been beyond impressive, going 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA and just came off a seven inning shutout against the Cardinals. The veteran A.J. Burnett has been equally as impressive, going 2-2 with a similar 2.83 ERA and nearly pitched the second no-hitter of his career earlier this month. Wandy Rodriguez‘s success hasn’t gone unnoticed as he has an ERA of 1.66. In the bullpen, closer Jason Grilli has been flat out dominant with a National League leading 10 saves and a low 0.82 ERA. Mark Melancon has been a workhorse in the bullpen, pitching in 14 games and only has an ERA of 0.64.
For the team offensively, left fielder Starling Marte has been off to one incredible start, hitting .323/.391/.444 with one home run and eight RBIs. The newly acquired Russell Martin is not looking back on his subpar 2012 as he’s off to a .267 start with five home runs and nine RBIs. Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Travis Snider have all also been incredibly strong for the Pirates. The one player who’s been in a bit of a slump is two-time All-Star Andrew McCutchen who is hitting a low .216, but has 13 RBIs and six stolen bases. Pedro Alvarez will also look to turn it around for the team as he’s currently batting below .200.
The Milwaukee Brewers have to find some sort of consistency. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Brewers have gone to some extremes this season as they started off cold, but then had a huge winning streak. Now, it doesn’t get any easier as the team has a home stand with the Pirates, Cardinals and Texas Rangers. For the Brewers, the trouble has been run support for the starting pitching. Kyle Lohse and Marco Estrada both have been pitching much better than what their records indicate, but the lack of run support has you think otherwise. The bullpen has been solid all around and Jim Henderson looks incredibly comfortable as the closer with six saves and an ERA of 0.82.
Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez have continued to lead the team offensively as both are finding any way they can to get on base. Segura in particular is taking advantage of his time on the bases, as he leads the team in steals with seven. Yuniesky Betancourt has come up big in the clutch, as he’s hitting .381 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Braun‘s bat has been somewhat cold average wise, only .257, but he does lead the team in home runs (7) and RBIs (21). Rickie Weeks has continued to struggle at the plate, only a .172 average and 31 strikeouts, but has three hits in his last four games.
The Projected Match-Ups:
Pittsburgh’s starters will be listed first followed by Milwaukee’s:
Tonight: Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 1.66 ERA) vs Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 4.97 ERA) at 8:10 p.m. ET / 7:10 p.m. CT
Tuesday: James McDonald (2-2, 4.38 ERA) vs Marco Estrada (2-1, 3.86 ERA) at 8:10 p.m. ET / 7:10 p.m. CT