Both of these teams got off to poor starts in April but, unlike the Brewers, the Pirates have righted the ship (pun not intended but welcome). They currently sit in second place well behind the Cardinals by 6.5 games. That's still good enough to currently hold the second Wild Card spot just half a game back of the Giants.
The Pirates pitching is very good again this year. They rank 7th overall in baseball and 5th in the National League. Their rotation has been the 6th best overall and 4th in the NL. Their bullpen, while still good, has been somewhat less effective ranking 10th overall and 6th in the NL.
The Pirates ability to turn things around is due to consistently solid pitching but also a recent uptick in offense. They are currently 20th in team offense over the entire season to date, but in the last 30 days they rank 4th overall and 2nd in the NL.
Once again Andrew McCutchen is brilliant. He's slashed 287/371/495 (.371 wOBA, 138 wRC+) with 8 home runs (6 in the last 30 days). He has an excellent walk (10.1 BB%) to strike out (13.9 BB%) ratio.
Monday June 8, 6:05 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs AJ Burnett
Little known fact: The A in "AJ" stands for "Ageless." That might be a lie, but it's an accurate description of Burnett. The 38 year old currently has a 2.20 ERA, 2.87 FIP, and 2.71 xFIP. Nothing about his peripherals looks like it's a fluke either. That is except for his 0.39 HR/9. But even then, home runs have never been a big problem for him so if it does go up I wouldn't expect a huge spike.
He throws a fastball (90-92), sinker, knuckle curve, and the occasional change-up.
Tuesday June 9, 6:05 pm CST: Taylor Jungmann vs Francisco Liriano
This could be a painful game for Brewers batters. Liriano is currently rocking a 30.0 K%! He also has a low .185 BAA and 1.05 WHIP. He's a lefty so expect Craig Counsell to stack the line-up with right-handed hitters.
He throws a fastball (92-94), slider, and change-up.
Brewers Note: This will mark the major league debut for Taylor Jungmann. He's been the trendy guy to hate on among the more cynical Brewers fans but there's still potential here. He's struggled at AAA but part of that could be the altitude at Colorado Springs. His 6.37 ERA looks atrocious but his 3.87 FIP suggests he's been better than that. Last year he regained some velocity and with it some strike out ability. That's continued this year. He does still walk too many batters, but he induces lots of ground balls which can negate a lot of those baserunners. He's done an excellent job limiting home runs (0.40 HR/9) which is impressive given his home park is Col. Springs.
Wednesday June 10, 6:05 pm CST: Kyle Lohse vs Charlie Morton
Morton got a late start to the season and has some weird short sample size oddities in his peripherals. For example. he has a 7.9 K% (2.84 K/9). He's been able to get away with it so far though as exhibited by his 2.84 ERA, 3.80 FIP, and 3.41 xFIP. Morton survives by typically inducing an extreme amount of ground balls.
He throws a fastball (90-92), curve ball, and change-up.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs