The decline of the Brewers came, and it did so sharply with two separate six-game losing streaks since the All-Star break, which they entered atop the National League Central. They’re now 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs, the Pirates 4 1/2 back. The Cardinals have jumped to second place, 1 1/2 back.
Milwaukee’s most recent skid came from last Sunday through Friday, as it dropped games to the Rays, Twins and Reds. The Brewers did win their final two against Cincinnati, taking that series, 2-1.
On Saturday the Brewers acquired noted Pittsburgher Neil Walker from the Mets for cash and a player to be named later.
The Pirates (58-60) had a crappy weekend in Canada, losing two of three to the Blue Jays after taking three of four from the Tigers.
Season Series: 8-3 Pirates
May 5: Pirates 4, Brewers 0
May 6: Pirates 2, Brewers 1, 10 innings
May 7: Brewers 6, Pirates 2
June 19: Pirates 8, Brewers 1
June 20: Pirates 7, Brewers 3
June 21: Brewers 4, Pirates 3
June 22: Brewers 4, Pirates 2
July 17: Pirates 4, Brewers 2
July 18: Pirates 4, Brewers 3
July 19: Pirates 3, Brewers 2, 10 innings
July 20: Pirates 4, Brewers 2
Tuesday, 7:40 p.m. - Ivan Nova (10-9, 3.87 ERA) vs. Zach Davies (13-6, 4.40), TV: AT&T SportsNet
Wednesday, 2:10 p.m. - Gerrit Cole (10-8, 3.96) vs. Jimmy Nelson (9-6, 3.72), TV: AT&T SportsNet
61-59 (61-59 Pythag, 4.63 RS/G, 4.51 RA/G)
Travis Shaw has injuries to his right knee and right foot and his status is unclear for this week. Shaw has pulled away as the team’s best hitter, with 3.4 fWAR and a .292/.363/.552 line with 25 home runs. Manny Pina, Ryan Braun, Eric Thames and Domingo Santana have cute matching 1.7 fWARs, though they’ve taken pretty different routes there. Neil Walker joined the team on Sunday. He’s at .268/.341/.442 with 10 homers in 74 games.
Zach Davies has a bit of a high ERA (4.40) and low strikeouts (5.98 per nine innings), but doesn’t walk a lot of batters (2.82 per nine). The Pirates have done well against Jimmy Nelson (10.03 K/9, 2.29 BB/9), but apparently not many other teams have. You probably know about Corey Knebel (15.61 K/9, 5.04 BB/9) at this point. It looks like Jeremy Jeffress is walking a bunch of people, though Jared Hughes, Jacob Barnes and Oliver Drake have been good in the pen.
The Pirates are banged up, with Gregory Polanco probably going back to the disabled list and Francisco Cervelli dealing with a wrist injury. Andrew McCutchen was the designated hitter on Sunday after leaving Friday with a “cramp-like feeling” and sitting out Saturday. So we’re probably looking at John Jaso or Sean Rodriguez in right field and at least a game of Chris Stewart. Pulling even with the Brewers would be a nice segue into a four-game series with the Cardinals; it would also be the kind of tease this team has been giving for a while now.
How does this series go?
This poll is closed
Get out the mini brooms — Pirates sweep!
Get out the mini brooms — Brewers sweep.