Pitching matchup in spotlight as Brewers visit Pirates

mlb5BREWERS (33-26) AT PIRATES (28-29)

The Milwaukee Brewers will go for a series win Sunday against the host Pittsburgh Pirates, with each team dealing with a tired bullpen.

The Brewers have won two of three in the four-game series, including a 12-10 victory in 13 innings on Saturday when the teams combined to use 14 pitchers.

“The pitchers, more than anything, deserve the credit for how they had to hold this game,” Milwaukee’s Orlando Arcia told Fox Sports Wisconsin through an interpreter.

Arcia’s second two-run homer of the night won the game.

On Sunday, Milwaukee right-hander Zach Davies (5-0, 2.19 ERA) will face Pittsburgh right-hander Jordan Lyles (5-2, 3.09 ERA) — but that’s not the matchup either team expected just a few days ago.

Learning over the past couple days that Lyles would be available for this start marked some good news in what has been a sea of discouraging injury situations for the Pirates.

They already were without two key starters, Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams — plus a couple of relievers — when Lyles left his start Tuesday after four innings because of a left hamstring issue.

He took the loss that day, but his status was of greater concern to the Pirates because he has proven to be one of their most reliable starters. Pittsburgh is 8-2 through his first 10 starts.

As it turned out, the injury was a slight strain and not a pulled hamstring.

“I just wanted to see how it would react in 24 hours. The next day, it was just a little stiff,” Lyles said. “Nothing was out of the ordinary, other than just the normal stiffness and soreness that we felt would be there.”

He postulated that the “pulling a little bit” he felt during that start was “maybe a little bit of dehydration that day.”

Pittsburgh has tried going with an opener a few times, and Nick Kingham and Steven Brault have had mixed results in spot starts, so things would have only gotten sketchier with a third starter out.

Lyles is 2-1 with a 3.49 ERA in his five starts at PNC Park.

He is 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 12 career games against the Brewers, including seven starts, but has not started against them since April 2015.

Milwaukee wasn’t so lucky with its rotation plans. Gio Gonzalez, originally scheduled to start Sunday, was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday.

Manager Craig Counsell said Gonzalez has a dead arm and felt “not right.” Milwaukee activated Manny Pina from the IL.

Moving to Davies on four days of rest isn’t exactly an act of settling, though. Davies has been highly effective.

In a no-decision on Tuesday, he gave up five hits in six scoreless innings, with four strikeouts and two walks, against Minnesota.

It was a bounce-back game from a rare tough outing in which he gave up six runs in three innings against Cincinnati in a no-decision. That was the only game this season in which he has allowed more than two earned runs.

“I felt like I stuck to my game plan (against the Reds) but just the execution of pitches wasn’t there,” Davies said. “Coming into (the Twins) game, just making sure I’m free and easy, and throwing to my game plan, I ended up executing better, and the results followed.”

Because of the game situation, Davies was used as a pinch hitter on Saturday. He struck out.

Davies is 2-5 with a 5.98 ERA in nine career starts against Pittsburgh.

–Field Level Media

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