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Brewers (55-75) vs Pirates (79-50) series preview

The Pirates are the better team but so far they're tied 6-6 against the Brewers.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Brewers used to wipe the floor with the Pirates? Well things aren't exactly the same anymore. So far this year the Pirates are one of the best teams in baseball. There is no reason to think that will change anytime soon unless you think they're going to get better.

They still are just 6-6 against the Brewers this year. There are 7 games left between the two teams this year to decide which team will get bragging rights. I want the Brewers to walk away with a really good draft position. But I think I'm okay with them crushing the Pirates for their next 7 games too.

That's easier said than done though. The Pirates offense has been in the Top 10 (99 wRC+). Their starters have also been among the ten best (3.44 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 13.0 fWAR). By ERA the Pirates bullpen (2.53) has been the 3rd best in baseball. Things have only gotten better in recent weeks. In August they had a 114 wRC+ and 1.41 ERA from their bullpen (best in baseball). Their rotation did slip a bit with a 3.74 ERA but that's still not bad.

Offensive Spotlight

Andrew Mcutchen is easily the better hitter on the team but hats off to their offseason acquisition Jung-ho Kang. In 409 plate appearances he's hitting 288/362/455. He's done that while playing shortstop and third base. Dude isn't making more than $3 million (before modest incentives) in any of his four guaranteed seasons and just $5.5 million in his final option year. I'm pretty jealous.

Pitching Match-Ups

Tuesday September 1, 7:10 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs Gerrit Cole

Cole: 169.2 IP, 24.3 K%, 5.6 BB%, .236 BAA, 1.11 WHIP, 0.48 HR/9, 49.8 GB%, 2.44 ERA, 2.69 FIP

He throws a fastball (95-96), slider, curveball, change-up.

Wednesday September 2, 7:10 pm CST: Zach Davies vs Jeff Locke (LHP)

Locke: 141.1 IP, 17.1 K%, 8.5 BB%, .266 BAA, 1.42 WHIP, 0.89 HR/9, 50.0 GB%, 4.46 ERA, 4.16 FIP

He throws a fastball (91-92), curveball, change-up.

BREWERS NOTE: Zach Davies was the pitcher acquired from the Orioles in exchange for Gerardo Parra. He has a slight build (6'0'', 150-160 lbs) and a fringe to average fastball (88-93 mph range) but he also has an average to slightly better curveball, a plus or better change-up, and above average command. The profile reminds me of Marco Estrada and that's not a bad thing by any means. I really like the combination of plus change-up and above average command. I think good command is something that allows everything else a pitcher does to play up to it's fullest.

Thursday September 3, 6:20 pm CST: Taylor Jungmann vs Francisco Liriano (LHP)

Liriano: 153.2 IP, 26.1 K%, 9.1 BB%, .215 BAA, 1.16 WHIP, 0.76 HR/9, 51.8 GB%, 3.28 ERA, 3.26 FIP

He throws a fastball (92-93), slider, and change-up.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs