Pitchers: Steven Brault (0-3, 3.90) faces Matt Garza (5-7, 4.22) today. Brault's already making his third start against Milwaukee out of seven total. Though he lost both prior matches, Steven has tossed OK - 11 IP, four runs (3.27 ERA), 11 hits, five walks, eight whiffs. He needs to be more economical with his pitches; he's only gone sixth innings once. A school of thought is that he's better suited to the pen rather than the rotation because of that inefficiency. It's tough to say how Garza's been pitching - he's allowed 12 runs in his last four outings, but just three of them have been earned, so he's obviously run into some bad luck lately. Hopefully the black cat will cross his path one more time tonight. Swiss cheese defense also figures prominently in his 2016 Bucco line - in three starts, he's gone 15 IP and surrendered 12 runs, but only five have been earned.
|Steven answers the bell tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Jsoh Bell 1B, Cutch CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Fran Cervelli C, S-Rod 2B, Jordy SS, Brault P. We're beginning to think Starling may be toast for the year, and while we'd like to see a pup at second, Clint has gotta ride S-Rod's smokin' hot bat. Kinda wondering when El Coffee will get a rest, as much for mental as physical health reasons.
Preview: Milwaukee swats around the Bucs even when they're league patsies, but now the Brewski Boys are on a pitching-fueled roll. The rotation has posted a 2.85 ERA over the last 27 games while the bullpen has put up a 2.65 ERA over its last 28 contests, and the Brewers have won 11-of-17, even taking two series from the Cubs. The Brew Crew is 103-60 against the Pirates with a 64-21 mark at the Miller Park torture chamber since 2007. But there is a bright side: the last time that Pittsburgh visited Milwaukee back in late August, the Buccos swept a four-game set. The team's have gone in opposite directions since, but...
- Cutch is on a seven game hitting streak.
- S-Rod was named the NL Co-Player of the Week (along with the D-Backs' Brandon Drury) after hitting .414 with five homers and 12 RBI in eight games.
- Keon Broxton won't torment his ex-club this series. He broke his right wrist while making a catch on Friday and will miss the rest of the season. The Bucs won't see Junior Guerra either; he's been shut down for the remainder of the year to preserve his arm.
- The Fish DFA'ed old Bucco reliever Bryan Morris today. He missed most of the season after back surgery.