BREWERS (32-25) AT PIRATES (27-28)
7:05 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, FSWI, MLB.TV
The Milwaukee Brewers don’t need Christian Yelich to hit homers to win. After all, Yelich didn’t add to his total of 21 on Thursday. Instead, he watched his teammates hit four homers in a series-opening 11-5 win over the host Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The Brewers haven’t had the best of luck on the road but used that power to move to 14-14 away from home going into Friday’s second game of a four-game set.
The Brewers rode their power and 18 hits to a win the first meeting of the season with the Pirates. Milwaukee has 96 homers collectively.
Pittsburgh has given up 12 homers in its past eight games and, not coincidentally, is 2-6.
“We’re working a lot of different areas for improvement,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after his team had the tying run at the plate three times Thursday.
Friday, Milwaukee right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (3-6, 4.88 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Chris Archer (1-5, 5.75 ERA), a matchup of struggling starters.
Chacin is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA over his past three starts, including a 7-2 loss Saturday against Philadelphia when he gave up four runs and seven hits — including two homers — in five innings, with six strikeouts and three walks.
A silver lining to that outing was Chacin reaching 1,000 career strikeouts.
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell indicated Chacin’s performance this season, while passable, has yet to reach the level the Brewers have seen before and need.
“I don’t think Jhoulys has clicked it all in,” Counsell said. “I think he’s pitched really well the last six starts. … Really, to me, that’s the starter’s job — to keep your team in the game — and he’s really good at that.
“He’s done his job. He’s kept us in games. That’s what we’re asking. Then you (hopefully) get into a stretch where it starts clicking, and it carries the load.”
Chacin is 2-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 career starts against the Pirates. Last year, he was 0-3 with a 3.03 ERA in six starts.
Archer has been one of four Pittsburgh starters to spend time on the injured list, but he hasn’t been one of the Pittsburgh starters to pick up the slack with others out, primarily because of control issues.
He is 0-5 over his past six starts, including 0-3 since he returned from the IL (right thumb irritation). He has coughed up six homers over his past five games.
Sunday, Archer gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, with six walks and three strikeouts, in an 11-7 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He acknowledged his struggles and predicted an imminent turnaround.
“It’s been four starts that I haven’t pitched to my capability whatsoever,” Archer said. “My next one could be a great one, and it will be a great one. It will be better than (Sunday).”
Archer hasn’t delivered a quality start since April 13. He needed 105 pitches for his five innings against Los Angeles.
“He’s working hard to get outs, and his fastball command has been just off enough that it’s extended counts,” Hurdle said.
Archer is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts against Milwaukee.
–Field Level Media