Series Preview: Pirates vs. Brewers

Pirates vs Brewers

Pittsburgh Pirates (3-6)


Milwaukee Brewers (2-7)

Friday, April 17th — 7:05 pm
Saturday, April 18th — 7:05 pm
Sunday, April 19th — 1:35 pm

PNC Park — Pittsburgh, PA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

For the second straight weekend, it’s the Pirates and Brewers fighting for the bottom of the NL Central. The Bucs took two of three in Milwaukee last week, and now continue their 10-game homestand by hosting the Brew Crew this weekend.

Probable Pitchers

Friday — Vance Worley (0-1, 8.53) vs. Jimmy Nelson (1-0, 0.00)

Saturday — Jeff Locke (1-0, 3.00) vs. Kyle Lohse (0-2, 11.17)

Sunday — Gerrit Cole (1-0, 3.27) vs. Matt Garza (1-1, 4.22)

News, Notes, Storylines

Chris Stewart has been activated from the disabled list; the Pirates sent Tony Sanchez back to Indianapolis.

– The Brewers placed center fielder Carlos Gomez on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, so they’ll be without him for at least the next two weeks.

– Jeff Locke, originally slated to pitch Friday night, flipped start days with Vance Worley, who will get the ball instead. This is presumably designed to split up the left-handed pitchers in the rotation, with Liriano pitching in the previous game.

Andrew McCutchen is one home run away from tying Jason Bay for the PNC Park all-time lead (61).

– Cutch will bat cleanup on Friday night… Off-night for Neil Walker, with Sean Rodriguez playing second and batting eighth… Cervelli batting second, Polanco batting third.

– Bucs’ offense hit 5-for-51 on balls in play on Tuesday and Wednesday vs. Detroit. They also haven’t drawn a walk since last weekend…

– The Pirates’ pitching staff has the third best FIP (3.19) in the National League thus far.

– From yesterday: Caminero, Melancon & Early Season Velocity Changes

Opponent Blogs

Brew Crew Ball | Disciples of Uecker

What they’re saying:

“Well, the season just keeps getting worse for the Brewers. They lost 2 out of 3 to the Cardinals to bring their season record to a dismal 2-7. And as if that wasn’t bad enough Carlos Gomez who is either the best or the second best player on the team hit the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

The Pirates’s season hasn’t gone much better. In point of fact it’s gone exactly one game better in the standings as they are just 3-6. Two of those wins came against the Brewers in their recent series at Miller Park. Now the two rivals meet on the Pirates home turf in the pitching friendly confines of PNC Park. That can’t be good news for a team whose offense has struggled to get going.” – BCB

Player to Watch

jimmy nelson

Jimmy Nelson. He dominated the Pirates last week: 0 runs, 2 hits, 9 strikeouts over 7 innings in Milwaukee’s 6-0 Saturday win. He’ll take the hill in game 1 of this series, looking to set the tone for the rest of the weekend. The Bucs have been helpless at the plate recently, so they have to hope they can find a way to beat Nelson this time around.

Go Bucs

Caminero, Melancon & Early Velocity Changes

arquimedes caminero pirates

You really don’t want to read too much into stats this time of year — we’re not even 10 games into the new season, and everyone should know that anything can happen in that small of a sample. We’re still at the point where if you complain about Andrew McCutchen‘s .207 batting average, you need to realize he could be up to .303 with a 4-for-4 performance tomorrow night.

But there are some interesting trends to keep an eye on, especially considering the Bucs’ 3-6 start. They haven’t drawn a walk since Saturday (it’s been a whopping 40 innings) and they’re not exactly making opposing pitchers work, for example. Another has been the velocity of two Bucco relievers: Arquimedes Caminero and Mark Melancon.

Continue reading “Caminero, Melancon & Early Velocity Changes”

Series Preview: Pirates vs. Tigers

Pirates vs Tigers

Pittsburgh Pirates (2-4)


Detroit Tigers (6-0)

Monday, April 13th — 1:35 pm
Tuesday, April 14th — 7:05 pm
Wednesday, April 15th — 7:05 pm

PNC Park — Pittsburgh, PA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Pirates concluded their opening week with a satisfying series win in Milwaukee. Now it’s time to return to Pittsburgh to kick off the home schedule. A 10-game homestand begins with the undefeated Detroit Tigers on Monday afternoon.

Probable Pitchers

Monday — Gerrit Cole (0-0, 5.40) vs. Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 0.00)

Tuesday — A.J. Burnett (0-0, 3.38) vs. Shane Greene (1-0, 0.00)

Wednesday — Francisco Liriano (0-0, 2.57) vs. Alfredo Simon (1-0, 5.06)

News, Notes, Storylines

– Monday is PNC Park’s Opening Day, with gates opening at 11:30 am and pregame ceremonies scheduled to begin at 12:45 pm.

– Parking, traffic, and security info for the opener can be found here.

– Tuesday is Buc Night at the ballpark… $1 hot dogs and popcorn.

– Wednesday is Jackie Robinson Day.

– Francisco Liriano will return from paternity leave to pitch on Wednesday night.

– The Pirates struck out in 28.6% of their plate appearances this past week, worst in MLB.

– The Tigers offense has been by far the best in baseball thus far, with a league-leading 47 runs scored and 177 wRC+.

– Without the designated hitter in the National League, Victor Martinez will be limited to a pinch-hitting role the next three days.

– The Bucs won 51 home games each of the last two seasons… Hopefully a similar campaign begins today.

Opponent Blogs

Bless You Boys | Motor City Bengals

What they’re saying:

“Speed, defense, power (hitting and pitching), clutch hitting and smarts—the Tigers did it all in rolling up a 6-0 record that was not a fluke in any way, shape or form.

It’s hard to imagine a big league club having a much better week of baseball—and we’re only in April.” – BYB

Player to Watch

miguel cabrera

Miguel Cabrera… it’s always a treat to watch one of the league’s best hitters. Cabrera was a force in week one, with hits in 13 of 25 at-bats, including two home runs against the Indians on Sunday. It will be necessary to slow down the powerful Detroit lineup as a whole, but a ton of their production revolves around Miggy.

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates @ Brewers

Pirates vs Brewers

Pittsburgh Pirates (0-3)


Milwaukee Brewers (0-3)

Friday, April 10th — 8:10 pm
Saturday, April 11th — 7:10 pm
Sunday, April 12th — 2:10 pm

Miller Park — Milwaukee, WI


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

Things didn’t go as planned in the opening series at Cincinnati, with the Pirates dropping all three games against the Reds. Is it frustrating? Yes. Does it put the Pirates in an early hole? Yes. But there is a lot of baseball to be played and plenty of time to get things going in the right direction.

Meanwhile, the same conversation is happening in Milwaukee, with the Brewers losing all three of their opening contests to the Colorado Rockies. Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy went a combined 2-for-24, and Ryan Braun got hurt. They’ll be just as eager as the Pirates this weekend to turn this thing around.

Pirates are 0-3. Brewers are 0-3. Someone’s gotta win. Right?

Probable Pitchers

Friday — Jeff Locke vs. Mike Fiers

Saturday — Vance Worley vs. Jimmy Nelson

Sunday — Francisco Liriano (0-0, 2.57) vs. Kyle Lohse (0-1, 21.60)

News, Notes, Storylines

– Due to the Penguins’ final two games of the regular season, neither Friday’s nor Saturday’s Bucco games will be televised on ROOT Sports. We’ll try to find a working live stream tonight… Saturday will be on MLB Network, fortunately.

– There’s still plenty of time:

Among the pitchers who have thrown 99+ mph so far this week: Gerrit Cole and Arquimedes Caminero.

– Braun, who strained a muscle in his rib cage on Opening Day, returns to the lineup on Friday night.

Interesting look at the youngest players in each league by Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper. Gregory Polanco is the 9th youngest in National League; Alen Hanson 7th youngest in International League; Tyler Glasnow 7th youngest in Eastern League; Austin Meadows 6th youngest & Reese McGuire 10th youngest in Florida State League; Cole Tucker 8th youngest in South Atlantic League.

– Thursday was Opening Day at the minor league level. Indianapolis and Bradenton lost; Altoona and WV Power won. Cole Tucker went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases in his Power debut.

– Pirates were 7-12 against the Brewers in 2014.

– Former Brewers Corey Hart will return to Miller Park this weekend for the first time as a visiting player. He’s sitting on 998 career hits.

– Brewers’ first basemen were awful last year, but Adam Lind will be a nice addition. He already has six hits in his new uniform, including a pair of doubles and a home run.

Opponent Blogs

Brew Crew Ball | Disciples of Uecker

What they’re saying:

“The Brewers really needed to have a good series against the Rockies because that was as easy as it was going to get for the first month. Up next is a stiff test in the Pirates who also got swept. But of course no one is going to suggest that a 3 game losing streak defines a team. At least no one that’s ever watched a 162 game baseball season…

Remember when the Pirates were Milwaukee’s slump busters? Pittsburgh couldn’t buy a win against the Brewers. It was great! Well those days are long gone because the Pirates might very well be the class of the NL Central this year. They have a potent offense and possibly the strongest all around outfield in all of baseball. That being said, I’m not sold on their rotation and the loss of Russell Martin hurts them a lot.” – BCB

Players to Watch

Cutch Walker Marte

The middle of the Pirates’ lineup: Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, and Starling Marte. The 3, 4, and 5 hitters went a combined 5-for-40 (.125) in Cincinnati, a big reason why the team’s offense couldn’t get off the ground. Aside from Cutch’s Opening Day home run, these three were uninspiring at the plate. It should go without saying that the club won’t go anywhere if these three don’t do much. That will change, of course — hopefully as early as this weekend.

Go Bucs