After a thorough 28-3 beatdown last week in Pittsburgh, the Brewers and Pirates meet again this week in Milwaukee.
With the trade deadline behind us, the Pirates are likely looking more at trying to secure another #1 overall pick than trying to make the Brewers’ lives miserable, and we didn’t see much last week to tell us that this week’s series should be any different.
Unfortunately, Rodolfo Castro’s streak of hits-only-being-home-runs to start his career came to an end over the weekend against Philadelphia, as he collected a double and two singles as the Bucs took 2 of 3 from the Phillies. He, of course, was the only offense for the Pirates in last week’s meeting with the Brewers.
Pittsburgh got more contributions from guys not named Rodolfo over the weekend, with Ben Gamel, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds all going 2-for-5 in a 7-0 win on Friday and Gregory Polanco driving in 2 runs. Gamel stayed hot on Saturday night with another 2 hits in another Pittsburgh win (a Jacob Stallings walkoff hit) before the Bucs got crushed 15-4 in the series finale.
This is still largely a punchless group outside of Reynolds, but Gamel is swinging a hot bat and could benefit in the shift of venues to American Family Field this week.
The Probable Pitchers
Monday, 7:10 p.m. CDT - Bryse Wilson vs. Eric Lauer
The Pirates picked Wilson up from at Atlanta at the deadline in the deal for closer Richard Rodriguez. He’s a young arm that has largely struggled in 22 big league starts, but did shine in last year’s NLCS against the Dodgers. The 23-year-old has been a contact-heavy pitcher to this point in the season, ranking in the bottom 5% of the league in strikeout rate, but has at least avoided walks as he’s pounded the zone. Unfortunately for him, that’s resulted in a lot of hard contact, with opponents putting up an expected batting average of .265 and expected slugging of .476 against him to this point. He had a 4.83 ERA in 7 starts with Atlanta this year.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. CDT - Max Kranick vs. Adrian Houser
Kranick will hope for better results than his last start, where he gave up 6 runs on 10 hits in 5 innings against the Brewers on Wednesday. This will be the 5th career start for the righty, who actually started his career with 5 no-hit innings against the Cardinals on June 27th. He was recalled on July 10th and has progressively struggled more with each start. He’s now allowed a total of 13 runs on 21 hits and 5 walks in just 11 innings.
Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. CDT - TBD vs. Freddy Peralta
No scheduled starter for Pittsburgh announced yet for this one, but it will be interesting to see how deep the Brewers let Peralta pitch in this game, which will likely mean very little when it comes to their playoff aspirations. This may be more of a “stay sharp” start than anything, depending on the team’s bullpen situation by Wednesday.
Statistics courtesy of Statcast and Fangraphs