After taking 2 of 3 from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, the Brewers hope to wrap up their homestand on a positive note with a quick two-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates before heading out West.
After years of seemingly dominating the Pirates every year, things have not gone well for the home squad against Pittsburgh this season. They're just 3-8 against the Bucs in 2017, a bulk of that coming in the last meeting between these two teams. In case you forgot/suppressed the memory, that was a 4-game Pirates sweep at PNC Park. The margins of victory in those four games: 2, 1, 1, 2.
That series was effectively the start of a month-long slump for the Brewers offense that they only recently broke out of against the Reds. The Brewers hope the addition of former Brewer Killer/Pirate Great Neil Walker helps avoid a similar slump this time around.
The Pirates enter the series still under .500 at 58-60 after losing their past two, but are still winners of 6 of their last 10 and are just 2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central standings.
Tuesday, 6:40 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Ivan Nova vs. Zach Davies
The Brewers have faced Nova twice already this year, and have tagged him for 21 hits in those two starts. But he's been able to escape trouble for the most part, allowing just 7 earned runs despite all of those baserunners. In his last start against the Brewers, Nova allowed 3 runs over 6 innings -- all of them coming on a home run by Travis Shaw. That's right -- 10 hits off of the starting pitcher that night, and only one of them generated runs. To be fair, there was also some dumb bad luck in that game -- like Eric Thames hitting Domingo Santana on the basepaths with a batted ball, leading to an automatic out -- but the Brewers were also just 1-for-5 with RISP against Nova that night.
Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Gerrit Cole vs. Jimmy Nelson
Cole's ERA of 3.96 coming into this series is higher than you'd expect for a pitcher of his caliber, but as mentioned in other Pirates series previews, his season numbers look worse than they should due to a horrific four-game stretch in late May and early June. Since the All-Star break, he's put up a 2.70 ERA in 6 starts, striking out 38 and walking just 9 in 40 innings. That includes a gem in the last Brewers/Pirates series, when he struck out 10 and walked none over 7 innings, allowing just 1 run in a game the Pirates eventually won in extra innings. The Brewers have yet to win a game in which Cole pitches against them this year, with the former #1 overall pick putting up a 1.29 ERA in three starts against the Crew in 2017.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference