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Series Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates @ Milwaukee Brewers

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The past four weekends, the Brewers have faced and (fairly easily) beaten four playoff contenders in a weekend series, taking 2 of 3 from the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 of 4 from the Washington Nationals and sweeping the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers then turned around during their following weekday series and fell flat on their face. They followed the series win in Denver by losing 2 of 3 to the lowly San Francisco Giants. After taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers in LA, the Brewers came home and split two games with the Cardinals -- the first being a 10-2 loss. The near-four game sweep of the Nationals (the lone loss in that series was by one run), the Brewers were swept in Cincinnati in a series that wasn't competitive outside of the opener on Labor Day.

With the Cubs facing the Mets this week and the Rockies on a 4-game winning streak but facing the white-hot Diamondbacks, the Brewers can't keep the work week blues going if they want to keep the pace in the NL Central race or make up ground in the wildcard race. Six of their next 9 games are against this Pirates team which they've struggled against so far this year, going just 5-8 after years of having the Bucs' number.

Probable Pitchers

Monday, 6:40 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Steven Brault vs. Brandon Woodruff

A left-handed rookie, Brault will be making his second career start after a couple of stints in the bullpen in July and August. He gave up 3 runs in 5 innings against the Cubs on September 5th, but had much more success as a starter in Triple-A, where he had an ERA of 1.94 in 21 appearances (20 of them starts), striking out 109 and walking 44 in 120.1 innings. He's your typical soft-tossing lefty who won't strike out many but does consistently hit the strikezone.

Tuesday, 6:40 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Gerrit Cole vs. Brent Suter

Every time we've done these previews for Pirates series, it feels like we've mentioned the unusual season Cole is having. He's as tough to hit as ever in terms of his stuff and above-average strikeout rates, but he's continued to give up home runs at an alarming rate, serving up 27 so far in 181 innings. That includes the three homers the Brewers hit against him on August 16th, the first time they've really been able to get to Cole all year. In 4 previous starts against the Brewers, he's allowed just 7 runs in 27 innings, and 4 of those runs came in his last trip to Milwaukee. He's coming off an outing in which he shut out the Cubs for 8 innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 8.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Tyler Glasnow vs. TBA

This is Jimmy Nelson's spot in the rotation, and the Brewers have yet to announce their plans for this game, but there's a chance the person making the start isn't with the team right now. Whoever it is, they'll be facing Glasnow, a nearly-consensus Top-20 prospect in all of baseball heading into this year that struggled mightily -- a 7.45 ERA in 12 starts with 29 walks and 12 home runs allowed in 54.1 innings -- before being sent back down to Triple-A in June. Since then, he's put up a 2.03 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 140 in 93.1 innings for an absurd 13.5 K/9 rate. Glasnow has always had electric stuff but has had problems with control at the major league level. This will be his first start back since getting sent down. The Brewers faced him on May 7th and were able to score 4 times in 6.1 innings in what was eventually a 6-2 Brewers win.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference