July 9, 2010

Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / July 9, 2010

Get excited - it's Pirates-Brewers games #4,000 through 4,002 this weekend.

Milwaukee is always one of the toughest places for the Pirates to play, but the Brewers have now been blown out in their last five consecutive games. Their record is now at 37-49 and the Brewers look poised to post their worst record since the 67-94 team of 2004. Despite the poor season fans are still packing Miller Park at a rate of 34,540 a night to see Fielder, Braun & Co., and manager Ken Macha is holding on to his job.

Braun (.285/.340/.457) and Fielder (.265/.393/.479) are each performing well below their typical levels. Of course, we said the same about Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee before they played the Pirates. In any event surprisingly good seasons by Corey Hart (.288/.350/.562), Rickie Weeks (.271/.369/.456) and Casey McGehee (.277/.345/.465) have helped the Brewers to field the fourth highest scoring offense in the National League.

Milwaukee Brewers
Friday 8:10, Saturday 7:10, Sunday 2:10

Friday the Brewers will start Doug Davis (1-4, 7.56) against Paul Maholm (5-7, 4.50). Maholm is usually a very reliable starter but has been lit up in two of his past three starts, raising his ERA by nearly a full run. Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo (8-4, 2.58) is hurt, which is why Davis returns from minor league rehab to make this start. He just hasn't gotten anyone out in the majors this year. Look for Maholm to put up a great start and the Pirates to break out of their season-long offensive funk. My pick is the Pirates.

Saturday the Pirates will use Jeff Karstens (2-3, 4.71) against Dave Bush (3-6, 4.23). Can anything be said about either of these pitchers? Of course not. My pick is the Pirates.

Sunday, in the final game before the All-Star break, John Russell will give the ball to Brad Lincoln (1-3, 5.25) against Randy Wolf (6-8, 4.49). It is too bad for this pair that guys who start Sunday can't make the All-Star team. Lincoln struck out 7.2 batters per nine innings at Indianapolis but so far is striking out just 3.5 per nine in the majors. Needless to say I would like to see that number rise significantly, and a Sunday getaway day before the All-Star break against one of baseball's most strikeout-prone teams is a good time to start. My pick is the Pirates.

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