LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 29: Michael Fiers #64 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second inning at Dodger Stadium on May 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Okay, yesterday's game didn't go so well, for reals, but the Pirates have a good shot to win this one and leave Milwaukee with two out of three. James McDonald takes on Michael Fiers, and if you're wondering who Michael Fiers is, we discussed him with Kyle Lobner in Thursday's podcast.
Fiers (pronounced like "fires") was drafted in the 22nd round in 2009 out of someplace called Nova Southeastern University. We all know 2009 doesn't look like a very good draft for the Bucs, but before you go cursing the Pirates for not having even one player from that draft in the majors by now, keep in mind that Fiers was almost 24 when his name was announced. (He got a signing bonus of $2,500, about the amount he makes per day now that he's in the majors.) He gets by deception and smarts rather than stuff, as his fastball mostly sits in the high 80s. He posted good numbers in the minors, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to do that in the majors. After making two relief appearances last season, he's made just one prior start this year -- a good one, against the Dodgers.
This is a solid matchup for the Pirates. If they can't hit this guy and end up losing 2-1 or something, it'll be pretty frustrating.
Pedro Alvarez has been benched, according to Clint Hurdle. He's 0-for-16 with six strikeouts in his last four games, and he's now down to .194/.250/.400.
And here's the Brewers', reinforcing what I said above about this being a winnable game:
Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez are out. This looks like a Class AAA lineup with a couple of major leaguers sprinkled in.