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Brewers - Pirates Series Preview: Plundering the Bucs Dugout.

Starting tonight at 6:05, your Milwaukee Brewers take to the high seas (of Pennsylvania) to do battle with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Wait -- after my post last week, I'm doing my best to be more politically correct, so I'm going to fix that sentence: tonight, the Brewers will engage in a friendly contest with Pittsburgh's Maritime Wealth Redistribution Specialists.

Much better.

2009 record vs. Pirates: 9-5, 73 runs scored, 62 runs allowed

Current three-game series:

  • Tuesday, April 20, 2010 @ 6:05 p.m. CDT. TV: WMLW  Radio: 94.5 WLWK
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2010 @ 6:05 p.m. CDT. TV: FS Wisconsin  Radio: 620 WTMJ
  • Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:35 a.m. CDT. TV: FS Wisconsin Radio: 620 WTMJ

Pirates probable starters (in order):

  • Charlie Morton (0-2, 13.50 ERA, 9 SO in 2010; did not face Milwaukee in 2009)
  • Zach Duke (2009 splits vs. Brewers: 1 GS, 0-1, 21.00 ERA, 3 IP, 7 ER, 2 HR allowed, 1 BB, 0 SO) 
  • Daniel McCutchen (0-1, 14.73 ERA, 3 SO in 2010; did not face Milwaukee in 2009)

Brewers probable starters (in order):

  • David Bush (2009 splits vs. Pittsburgh: 1 GS, 0-0, 7.20 ERA, 5 SO, 1 BB, 0 HR allowed)
  • Yovani Gallardo (2009 splits vs. Pittsburgh: 4 GS, 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 29 SO, 10 BB, 3 HR allowed)
  • Randy Wolf (2009 splits vs. Pittsburgh: 2 GS, 0-0, 3.38 ERA, 10 SO, 3 BB, 2 HR allowed)

By popular demand, I sent a handful of questions to Charlie at SBN's Bucs Dugout, who was nice enough to provide some inside dirt on the Buccos:

BCB: The Pirates sit at 7-5 after the first couple weeks of the season, which is their best start since ... last year, when they started out 9-6.  But, in running out to that 7-5 start, the Bucs have scored 53 runs while allowing 75.  What's the story?

Basically, they keep winning nail-biters and losing blowouts, which obviously isn't a formula for sustained success. A lot of that is due to some horrible performances by pitchers who are either pretty likely to improve or are not around anymore, but clearly, this isn't an above-average team.

After the jump: on veteran lefties, the allure of PNC Park, and a special guest appearance by an old friend.  Let's go!

BCB: Fill in the blank: Andrew McCutchen is the most exciting young player the Pirates have had since ____________. (Please don't say Jason Kendall. I'll feel really bad if that's the case.)

Well, I guess I can't answer that question, then. Brian Giles wasn't really that young when the Pirates got him, Aramis Ramirez' Pirates career was too uneven, and McCutchen is a better-rounded player than Jason Bay, so I guess it's... nope, can't say it.

BCB: This is the sixth season for both Paul Maholm and Zach Duke (though, to be fair, Maholm only made six starts in 2005). Maholm's signed through 2011, and Duke is up for his last year of arbitration next season. What are the expectations for the two lefties this year? Any chance one (or both) of them gets moved by the trading deadline?

I think there's a decent chance one of them gets traded, and probably the most likely candidate is Duke, since the Pirates have a reasonable 2012 option on Maholm. They're both fine pitchers, but I'm not expecting too terribly much from them this year, since they're both pitch-to-contact types and the Pirates' defense is worse this year than last, with Jack Wilson, Adam LaRoche, Nyjer Morgan and Brandon Moss giving way to Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jones.

BCB: Every year, it seems like somebody --, or ESPN, or Ask Jeeves -- comes out with a ballpark ranking article that has PNC Park at or near the top of the heap. For those of us who haven't had the opportunity to take in a game in Pittsburgh, what's the best thing about the stadium?

The view. The new parks in Philadelphia and San Diego have a lot in common with PNC, but the views at both at both those venues show just how important the skyline and the bridge behind the outfield are to the PNC experience. The Phillies basically play in a sea of parking lots, and you really feel like you could be anywhere, but from the moment you arrive at your seat in PNC, you feel very powerfully that you're in Pittsburgh.

Incidentally, I went to Miller Park for the first time last summer, and I thought it was pretty amazing. It's obviously pretty different from PNC, but that place feels so big, and there's a lot to explore.

BCB: Have you seen this? Are you a member? And, if not, why not?

I have. It's nice to see that after seventeen years of losing, the Pirates still have a bunch of kids finding a cool way to support the team.

BCB: Is Dave Kerwin still on your coaching staff this year?

Oh sure. I've never seen him in person, but I know he has a Twitter page, so he definitely exists. In fact, he says "I'm as real as the Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Brewers' playoff hopes," so I guess that settles it.