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Drew Pomeranz to start Brewers’ bullpen game in series finale against Pirates

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Pomeranz has a chance to show his value as a swingman for the Brewers as they go for a sweep

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

With Zach Davies on the injured list and an off day Thursday, Craig Counsell and the Brewers announced earlier in the week that Wednesday night’s series finale in Pittsburgh would be a bullpen game.

Who was going to pitch in that game, including who would start it, depended on how they could navigate Tuesday night’s game. Luckily for the Brewers, they were able to escape with a win in that game without using some of their best relief arms.

After the game, Counsell said it will be new acquisition Drew Pomeranz getting the ball first as the Brewers try to complete a sweep.

Pomeranz was a starter for much of the year, but you could still consider this a bullpen game, since we don’t know just how deep into the game Pomeranz will be able to work. He threw 14 pitches in an inning of relief against the Pirates in the series’ first game Monday night.

The lefty has had a pair of successful outings since coming to the Brewers at the trade deadline, striking out 5 batters in 2 scoreless innings.

Much was made about his sky-high ERA and struggles in the rotation for San Francisco this year before the Giants moved him to the bullpen about a week before the deadline, but his season-long numbers were inflated by three blowup starts (7 ER in 1.2 innings at Cincinnati on May 6th, 8 ER in 1.1 innings at Baltimore on May 31st, and 7 ER in 4.1 innings against the Dodgers in LA on June 19th), while his 14 other starts were mostly fine-to-good, including a 5 IP 2 ER 11 K game against the Rockies on June 24th. Outside of those blowup starts, Pomeranz had 27 earned runs in 65 innings, which translates into a 3.74 ERA (of course, we can’t just discount those outings since they actually happened, and the possibility of a blowup is why he was bumped from the Giants’ rotation to begin with).

Pomeranz’s value to the Brewers in the second half likely lies more in being a multi-inning fireman to help get games to Josh Hader in the 9th, but he’ll have a chance tonight to show some of the worries about him starting are overblown.

He’ll have to overcome some pretty hefty platoon splits to do that -- righties are hitting .299/.384/.545 with 14 home runs in 265 plate appearances against him this year -- but given the current state of the Pirates, who have won just 4 games since the All-Star break, now is as good as time as any to give him a start.