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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Brewers back on road trying to win third consecutive series

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the off-season lockout that knocked out the first two series of the year, the Brewers are back in Pennsylvania following a quick stop home to face the Giants. Tuesday begins a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Brewers enter the series winners of 6 of their last 8. They have had the Pirates' number as of late, winning 17 of their last 22 games against them, including a three-game sweep earlier this season.

Coming into Pittsburgh for the first time this season, many Brewers fans might have their eyes on the forecast. If it feels like every time the Brewers play in Pittsburgh there is a strong chance the game might be impacted by rain, you would be correct. Based on my count, every year since 2007, with the exception of 2008 and 2016, saw at least one game impacted by weather in Pittsburgh. Eight games have been either postponed or delayed due to rain since 2017. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the weather forecast for this three-game series:

It looks as though they should be in the clear, with the biggest threat of rain being early afternoon on Tuesday.

The Pirates are home following a series victory over the Cubs. They were able to take three out of four against the Cubs, despite having a -17 run differential in the series. That crooked number is thanks to a 21-0 loss to the Cubs, the biggest blowout in the MLB this season.

Lineups

The lineup for the Pirates remains largely unchanged since the Brewers saw them last week. Former Brewer Daniel Vogelbach has found himself in the leadoff spot this season for the first time in his career. The career .214 hitter is batting an impressive .311 so far this season, with a team-leading three home runs as well. In his return to Milwaukee, Vogelbach was 4-for-10 with a home run. Beyond Vogelbach, the Pirates have seen some solid production from their 25-year-old third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes. Hayes is splitting .327/.407/.423 in 15 games so far. Hayes, Vogelbach and infielder Michael Chavis are the only Pirates with an OPS above .800.

Probable Pitchers

Game 1, Tuesday, 5:35 pm: Brandon Woodruff (2-1) vs Mitch Keller (0-3)

Brandon Woodruff will get the start for game one. Woodruff’s last time out was against these Pirates, his best outing of the season. He went six innings, allowing just one hit on nine strikeouts. Aside from a rough first start against the Cubs, Woodruff has shown the form that made him one of the best pitchers in baseball last season. Opponents are slashing .196/.300/.216 against him so far this season.

Mitch Keller will try to get his first win of the season on Tuesday. Last time against the Brewers, Keller struck out a season-high seven batters and gave up just one run in 5.1 innings of work. In three games pitched, Keller has an ERA of 6.23 and a WHIP of 1.69. His only home appearance this season was against the Nationals, when he gave up seven hits and four runs in just 3.2 innings.

Game 2, Wednesday, 5:35 pm: Aaron Ashby (0-2) vs Bryse Wilson (0-0)

Ashby will make his second start of the season in game two. So far this season, Ashby has had some command issues. His 14.8% walk rate is a cause for concern. In his last appearance, he struggled in relief against the Phillies, giving up five hits and three runs en route to a loss. As the team’s hybrid starting/relief pitcher of sorts, don’t expect a long appearance from Ashby in this one.

Bryse Wilson will enter Wednesday without a decision so far this season. Wilson relies on his fastball and sinker almost equally (55 pitches and 51 pitches, respectively, so far this season), but hasn’t found a ton of production from either. So far in 2022, his K-rate is just 11.3%, one of the worst in the league.

Game 3, Thursday, 11:35 pm: Freddy Peralta (0-1) vs Jose Quintana (0-1)

Freddy Peralta will try again on Thursday to get his first win of the season. The right-hander has had a slow start to the season, allowing 10 earned runs across three starts. The biggest area of struggle so far has been his inability to limit the hard-hit ball. He has a hard hit % of 53.1%, putting him in the bottom 10% of all qualified pitchers. Peralta has had success against the Pirates in his career, with a record of 2-1.

A former Cubs and White Sox star, Jose Quintana came to Pittsburgh this offseason via free agency. The 33-year-old left-hander is off to a slow start in 2022. He has an ERA of 3.86 in just 14 innings pitched across three starts. His career against the Brewers, however, has been good. He is a lifetime 9-4 with an ERA of 2.78 and 98 strikeouts in 18 appearances.

All stats via Baseball-Reference, StatMuse, MLB.com and Baseballsavant.