Following a much-needed series victory, the Milwaukee Brewers must now find a way to beat the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.
Aiming for a third straight win, the Brewers try to snap their five-game losing streak to the visiting Pirates on Monday night.
Milwaukee is fighting for a fifth consecutive postseason spot and coming off its first series victory of at least three games since July 29-31, after winning the last two against the Chicago Cubs. However, the Brewers have dropped five in a row — by either one or two runs — against a Pirates club that sits 31 games under .500 and has won just three times in its last 16 contests.
Brewers star and scheduled Monday starter Corbin Burnes (9-6, 2.84 ERA) is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA against the Pirates this season and 6-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 19 games (seven starts) in his career against Pittsburgh.
Burnes threw five scoreless innings before he yielded four runs, highlighted by Oneil Cruz’s three-run homer in the sixth, of a 5-3 Milwaukee loss at Pittsburgh on Aug. 2. Burnes also surrendered five walks over 5 1/3 innings of that contest.
The right-hander matched a career high by giving up seven runs, plus six hits, over 3 2/3 innings of the Brewers’ 10-1 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
“If you’re on top of your game, the saying for me is always that good pitching can beat good hitting,” Burnes said.
“If you’re not on top of your game, they’re able to back you into corners and get good pitches to hit.”
While Cruz went deep versus Burnes, Pittsburgh’s other young stars Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds are each 0-for-7 against him in 2022. Reynolds, though, is 5-for-8 with a homer in his last two games versus Milwaukee.
On Sunday, Roansy Contreras and three relievers held Philadelphia to four hits, while Cruz and Reynolds recorded two of the Pirates’ three triples during a 5-0 road victory that snapped their seven-game losing streak. Pittsburgh last won back-to-back road contests on July 11-12.
“We could have folded really easily,” reliever Wil Crowe told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“We’ve been in a bad stretch. … I think it shows a lot about who we are as a team.”
According to the Post-Gazette, the Pirates are expected to call up rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski from Triple-A Indianapolis in time for this contest. Suwinski still ranks second on the major league club with 14 home runs, but was 0-for-28 over a 10-game stretch before he was sent down on July 15.
The Pirates’ JT Brubaker was on track to start Monday’s opener, but he was placed on the paternity list. Pittsburgh has yet to announce a starter for this contest, but whoever takes the ball will have to deal with a red-hot Christian Yelich.
The Milwaukee star has homered in back-to-back games and is batting .383 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his last 12 contests.
Teammate Kolten Wong has also gone deep in each of the last two games, during which he’s recorded five total hits. Wong has batted .322 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 16 games versus Pittsburgh in 2022.
–Field Level Media