Welcome to the second of what feels like 27 Pirates series previews in the next couple of months.
After not seeing the Pirates all year until this past week, the Brewers now prepare to face the Steel City Nine for the second time in three series, this time at Miller Park.
The first meeting between these two teams saw a surprising amount of offense considering the generally pitcher-friendly tendencies of PNC Park, so we may be in for more offensive fireworks on what’s looking like will be a (finally) summer-like weekend at The Keg.
As we noted last week, the Pirates’ offense has been pretty weak outside of Josh Bell this year, but then just about everyone but Josh Bell went out and hit Brewers pitching well last weekend (a hot streak that continued even after the Brewers left town). Pitching has been a problem for them all year, though, which has led to their -67 run differential (which, thanks in part to the Brewers’ contributions against the Marlins this week, is now the second-worst in the National League).
Friday, June 7th - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Rookie Davis vs. Brandon Woodruff
Davis makes his first start of the year, but it won’t be his first Major League start -- he started 6 games for the Reds back in 2017. Despite that, he still has his rookie eligibility, so he’s technically not living a lie. Davis threw two scoreless innings in relief against the Brewers in that crazy 12-10 game last Saturday.
Saturday, June 8th - 3:10 p.m. CDT
Jordan Lyles vs. Zach Davies
After a start to the season that had a lot of people talking (and some Brewers fans second-guessing the decision to let him go), Lyles has started to come back to earth in a big way in his last few starts, allowing 13 runs in his last 15.2 innings. That includes 4 earned runs and the loss against the Brewers this past Sunday.
Sunday, June 9th - 1:10 p.m. CDT
Steven Brault vs. Chase Anderson
Brault has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen a couple times this season and will be making his third straight start this Sunday in the Super-Sold-Out Christian Yelich MVP Bobblehead Day series finale. He’s managed the tiptoe out of trouble in his last three appearances, allowing just 3 earned runs across 15 innings despite allowing 11 hits and 8 walks in that timeframe. The Brewers hit .267/.371/.533 against the lefty in 6 appearances last year for a .905 OPS.
The Brewers took 3 of 4 from the Pirates last weekend, including the last two games in which they likely had no business winning. That’s what good baseball teams do. It was the kind of series that the Brewers would have been on the other end of a few years ago against the likes of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Player to Watch
Starling Marte has long proven to be a Brewers Killer, and that held true last weekend, when he went 8-for-20 in the four-game set, scoring 5 runs and driving in 4. It felt like the Pirates led off every inning in that series with a baserunner, and most of the time it was Marte -- especially in the middle two games of the series, when he went 3-for-5 and 4-for-7.
He’s stayed hot this week, too, going 5-for-12 as the Bucs took 2 of 3 from the Atlanta Braves. He won’t walk a ton, especially for a guy hitting at the top of the lineup, but he’s a threat to run (10-for-11 in steals this year) whenever he does get on base.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference