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Series preview: Pirates head to Milwaukee for three

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On the road again.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates (5-8) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7-5), April 16-18, 2021

Location: American Family Field, Milwaukee, WI

TV: AT&T Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: KDKA-AM

Brewers SB Nation Site: Brew Crew Ball


Another NL Central rival is on deck as the Pirates travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brew Crew.

Here’s a look at what we can expect this weekend:

Projected Starters

Friday, 8:10 p.m. EST

JT Brubaker (1-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. Adrian Houser (1-1, 1.80 ERA)

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. EST

Trevor Cahill (0-1, 8.00 ERA) vs. Brett Anderson (1-1, 4.50 ERA)

Sunday, 2:10 p.m. EST

Chad Kuhl (0-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. Freddy Peralta (2-0, 0.69 ERA)

Projected Lineups

Pirates

  1. Adam Frazier (2B)
  2. Phillip Evans (3B)
  3. Bryan Reynolds (LF)
  4. Colin Moran (1B)
  5. Kevin Newman (SS)
  6. Gregory Polanco (RF)
  7. Jacob Stallings (C)
  8. Anthony Alford (CF)
  9. Starting Pitcher

Brewers

  1. Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF)
  2. Omar Narvaez (C)
  3. Christian Yelich (LF)
  4. Avisail Garcia (RF)
  5. Travis Shaw (3B)
  6. Keston Hiura (1B)
  7. Jace Peterson (2B)
  8. Luis Urias (SS)
  9. Starting Pitcher

We spoke with Jaymes from our sister site Brew Crew Ball to discuss some storylines for the Brewers heading into 2021. Here’s what he had to say about the team:

1. What has been the biggest surprise for the team so far?

A lot of people weren't super enthusiastic about the team's third base situation heading into the year, and bringing back Travis Shaw as one of the possible solutions didn't inspire a lot of confidence. But after almost flaming out of the majors completely, he's off to a great start this year and looking more like the 30-home run hitting borderline All-Star he was for the Brewers in 2017 and 2018. He comes into the weekend with a .933 OPS and has been the main "run producer" for the Brewers thus far as Keston Hiura has struggled and Christian Yelich has battled a sore back. I'm still skeptical he can keep it up over a full season, but his swing looks much better than it did at the end of his first stint with the Brewers in 2019 and he's shown more patience at the plate, all while providing solid defense at third base.

2. Who is one player from the Brewers who Pirates fans would be surprised by in this series?

Outside of Shaw, Omar Narvaez might be the guy carrying the Brewers so far this year. He came to Milwaukee last year with a reputation of being a bat-only catcher who was terrible defensively, but weirdly, the exact opposite ended up happening in last year's shortened season. The flukiness of the COVID season aside, Narvaez showed a great framing ability last year while struggling through a terrible offensive season. This year, the defense has stood up (he's allowed a handful of passed balls, but there are metrics showing he's also had to block some incredibly tough pitches this year due to some of the ridiculous movement from Brewers pitching) and the offense has been there. He has a 1.091 OPS and 196 OPS+ in his first 10 games, and while the batting average may be carried by a high BABIP, he's also hitting the ball harder than he ever did last year.

3. What is your prediction for the series?

The Pirates always seem to play the Brewers close, and the Brewers are a bit banged up early this year with Yelich missing the last series against the Cubs with his sore back and Lorenzo Cain on the Injured List, joining Kolten Wong on the shelf early. There's some reason to believe the Brewers are just being cautious and trying to get everyone through a 162-game season to make sure they have enough gas to contend in September, but those are still a lot of key bats missing early. I'm going to guess the Brewers will take 2 out of 3, but the Brewers have played a lot of low-scoring games so far this year and I think that'll continue this weekend.