With just 13 games left to play, the Milwaukee Brewers are going to need help to make the postseason. For that help to do anything, though, the Brewers are still going to need to take care of business on their end. After taking 2 of 3 from Miami over the weekend, the Brewers head off on the road (for real this time) for one last trip to the Factory of Torment known as PNC Park.
The Pirates have already clinched a losing season -- their second in a row after three straight postseason appearances -- but have been tough on the Brewers all year, with Milwaukee only going 7-9 against them so far this year, even after last week's series in Miller Park that saw the Brewers take 2 of 3.
Most of that damage was done in Bloop City, with the Brewers going 1-6 in Pittsburgh so far this year, including the four-game sweep in July that kicked off the second half slump that eventually booted the team from the top of the standings. Needless to say, the margin for error is now razor thin -- winning less than 2 in this series probably can't happen, and if they're going to lose a game, it'll have to be on a day the Cubs or Rockies lose to avoid falling further behind.
Monday, 6:05 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Brent Suter vs. Jameson Taillon
Taillon has had an up-and-down year, but that can be forgiven considering his midseason testicular cancer diagnosis and surgery. He still has big strikeout stuff, as we saw in July when he struck out 8 Brewers en route to allowing 2 runs over 5.1 innings and picking up a win. But he's struggled to stay efficient with his pitches for much of the year, frequently only working 5-6 innings. He got roughed up in his last start against the Cubs, giving up 6 runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings, causing Clint Hurdle to give Taillon some extra rest and skip a start.
Tuesday, 6:05 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Chase Anderson vs. Trevor Williams
Here's your feared Game Against A Rookie Pitcher Who's Had a Good Half. He has a 4.26 ERA overall in 29 games and 23 starts, but has been slightly better than that after the All-Star break, putting up a 3.64 ERA in 11 starts. He's still put on plenty of baserunners, though, walking 29 and giving up 64 hits in 64.1 innings. Williams' stuff isn't overpowering (92.2 mph on the fastball, plus an 84 mph slider and 85 mph changeup), but he's been a solid enough back-end starter for the Pirates this year. He faced the Brewers in June, allowing 3 runs over 6 innings while striking out 7 in a game the Pirates eventually lost.
Wednesday, 6:05 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Johnny Wholestaff vs. Steven Brault
This start is still technically TBA for the Brewers, but the extent to which they use the bullpen may depend on the Suter start. The Brewers will have a chance to get their revenge on Brault after he shut them down and, it's probably fair to say, embarrassed them last week. Despite a 1.94 ERA in Triple-A, plenty of people were fixated on Brault's 5.79 big league ERA that came in a tiny sample size of 18.2 innings. Brault shut out the Brewers over 6 innings last Monday, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk. That start now accounts for 33% of his big league innings for the year and lowered his ERA to 4.38. With the re-shuffling of the Pirates' rotation, this will be his second consecutive start against the Brewers.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs