The Brewers are currently the seventh worst team in baseball. The Pirates are the second best team, now just 4.5 games behind the Cardinals. The last time these two teams met the roles were reversed with the Brewers actually sweeping Pittsburgh. It felt like the days of old. Now with a four game series all that's let between these two clubs the season series victory is on the line.
The Brewers have the leg up owning a 9-6 record vs the Pirates this year. In order to take the season series victory the Brewers need only win a single game out of four. It's almost assured. Brewers fans can take some small solace in beating their division rivals. It means little as the Brewers are out of the playoff race but it's still nice to see a rival lose and all the better when it's by your own team's hands. But the schadenfreunde only extends that far.
By beating up on the Pirates the Brewers could potentially help secure the division lead for the Cardinals who have faltered of late. They've lost 5 of 8 in September and have one of the lowest leads they've enjoyed all season. Though it's not as if 4.5 games this late in the season is any small number.
There's also home game advantage in the wild card play-in game to consider. The Cubs are the second wild card and no team is at all close to them. The Giants are 9 games out. So the play-in game will be at Wrigley Field or PNC Park, unless the Cardinals drop the lead. As the Cubs are just three games back of the Pirates the Brewers will have some impact on that event. In fact, the Brewers and Cubs face each other 6 more times this year including the last three games of the season.
The Brewers have little to play for now outside of pride and to act as spoiler. Though with the Pirates and Cubs there is no ability to knock them out of the playoff picture. They can only impact where these respective teams finish and perhaps where the two wild card teams play. It's still interesting to see how things will play out though.
Thursday September 10, 6:05 pm CST: Wily Peralta vs AJ Burnett
Burnett: 135.1 IP, 19.9 K%, 6.3 BB%, .274 BAA, 1.34 WHIP, 53.2 GB%, 0.47 HR/9, 3.06 ERA, 3.13 FIP
Friday September 11, 6:05 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs Charlie Morton
Morton: 112.2 IP, 17.2 K%, 7.3 BB%, .254 BAA, 1.30 WHIP, 57.8 GB%, 0.72 HR/9, 4.07 ERA, 3.91 FIP
Saturday September 12, 6:05 pm CST: Zach Davies vs Jeff Locke
Locke: 150.0 IP, 17.2 K%, 8.2 BB%, .269 BAA, 1.43 WHIP, 50.6 GB%, 0.84 HR/9, 4.56 ERA, 4.05 FIP
Sunday September 13, 12:35 pm CST: Taylor Jungmann vs Francisco Liriano
Liriano: 164.2 IP, 26.3 K%, 9.3 BB%, .216 BAA, 1.18 WHIP, 51.2 GB%, 0.71 HR/9, 3.28 ERA, 3.25 FIP
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs