BREWERS (31-25) AT PIRATES (27-27)
7:05 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, FSWI, MLB.TV
The Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates will face each other for the first time this season in a four-game series at PNC Park that begins Thursday.
Milwaukee has lost six of its past 10 games and had a day off Wednesday following a 5-3 loss Tuesday against Minnesota.
The Pirates have lost seven of 10 and have been letting games get away from them in those losses — they have been outscored 61-21 in those seven games.
Pittsburgh could be fighting fatigue more than the Brewers. The Pirates just played four games in less than 54 hours in Cincinnati before heading back to start a seven-game homestand.
The Pirates are coming off a series in which Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich hit four homers in four games. Now they will try to contain Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, who is the major league leader with 21 homers.
“My whole thing about all that is just put your head down and just keep grinding until the end of the season,” Yelich told the Brewers website in terms of any stats race. “Then you can look up and see where you’re at.”
Conversely, the Brewers will have to be mindful of Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell, who hit his 18th homer Wednesday in a 7-2 win against the Reds.
“It’s not that easy. He’s special,” Pittsburgh’s Colin Moran, who also homered Wednesday, told AT&T Sportsnet about Bell. “He can pump you, hit you a homer, and he can also hit .350, so there’s not anything he can’t do at the plate. It’s pretty incredible.”
In Thursday’s series opener, Milwaukee right-hander Chase Anderson (2-0, 3.25 ERA) is scheduled to start against Pittsburgh righty Joe Musgrove (3-5, 4.27 ERA).
Anderson made his first five appearances this season out of the bullpen and now will be making his fifth start. He is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA as a starter, and Milwaukee is 2-2 in those four games. He has lasted less than five innings in each of his past three starts.
His most recent no-decision came Friday when he allowed three runs and six hits in four innings, with four strikeouts and no walks, in the Brewers’ 6-4 loss to Philadelphia.
In 14 career starts against Pittsburgh, Anderson is 7-4 with a 3.61 ERA.
Meanwhile, just when Musgrove seemed to have turned things around, he stumbled Saturday against Los Angeles.
To begin May, he gave up a total of 15 runs in two outings that, combined, lasted 5 2/3 innings. Then he won two straight starts. Saturday, he gave up six runs and 10 hits, with one strikeout and no walks, over five innings in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers.
Musgrove easily fingered the problem.
“Ultimately, my stuff was just up in the zone,” he said. “(Early) in the game, you saw the kind of results I can get when I throw my stuff down in the zone — a lot of weak contact and a lot of stuff coming back to me, staying in the infield. As the game went on, my stuff started to elevate in the zone.”
Musgrove has no decisions and a 6.94 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee.
–Field Level Media