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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates

The Brewers wrap up one of their best first halves ever with a marathon 5-game, 4-day series in Pittsburgh

MLB: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The first half is coming to a close, but before the Brewers get some much-needed rest after playing for nearly three weeks in a row, they’ll have to get through a grueling 5-game series played over the next 4 days.

The Brewers split their last series against the Pirates in June due to a rain out in the scheduled series finale, necessitating this weekend’s doubleheader.

Pittsburgh has continued its slide since the last time we saw them. Since beating the Brewers on June 18th to get back to .500 at 36-36, they’ve gone 7-13 in their last 20 games to fall to 6 games below .500. That stretch looks better than it’s actually been, as the Pirates have actually won 3 of their last 4 games — before that, they had won just 4 of 13.

That’s a stretch that included giving up 17 runs twice in four days. They now carry a team ERA of 4.41, ranking 22nd out of 30 and well behind the Brewers’ 7th-ranked mark of 3.54.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday - 6:05 p.m. CDT
Wade Miley vs. Jameson Taillon

Friday - 6:05 p.m. CDT
Junior Guerra vs. Nick Kingham

Saturday #1 - 11:35 a.m. CDT

Saturday #2 - TBD
Chase Anderson vs. TBA

Sunday - 12:35 p.m. CDT
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Joe Musgrove

Saturday’s doubleheader is throwing a wrench in both team’s rotations. The Pirates have not announced a starter for either game of the twinbill, but the Brewers know Chase Anderson will throw the second game for them. The hope is that Brent Suter will be ready to go for the first game.

The Brewers will see Taillon in Game 1 of the marathon series. After an even 100 innings, Taillon has put up a solid ERA of 4.05 with a 3.63 FIP, striking out 93 with 28 walks. The Brewers have won both games he’s started against them this year, including his start on June 19th, where he only went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, but also struck out 7.

Kingham is one of the Pirates’ top pitching prospects and ranked in the Top 100 of every preseason prospect list. He’s made 8 starts of the Bucs so far this year, including one against the Brewers. In what was his second career start, he gave up 4 runs in 5.1 innings, although he did strike out 7. He was sent back to the minors after that start and has been on the Triple-A shuttle a couple of times since then, but this will be his third start in the month of July. He’s coming off an outing in which he held the Phillies to 1 run in 6 innings, striking out 5.

Without starters announced for the Saturday doubleheader, we’ll jump to Musgrove on Sunday. A part of the much-criticized trade of Gerrit Cole to Houston, the 25-year-old Musgrove has put up a 3.77 ERA in 8 starts this year, although his FIP is a much more attractive 3.35. He’s struck out a batter per inning so far this year and carries a K/BB ratio of 45/12 heading into this weekend’s first half finale. He struck out 9 Nationals over 5 innings in his last start on Tuesday, which was his first since June 29th.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference