Pittsburgh Pirates (31-37; 32-31-5 O/U) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (37-33; 41-26-3 O/U)
MLB: Monday, June 19, 2017 at 7:40pm EST
Line: Pittsburgh -113/Milwaukee +103
The Milwaukee Brewers will square off with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the division rivals kick off a four games series Monday night from Miller Park. The Pirates will give the nod to 26-year old right-hander Gerrit Cole, and 33-year old right-hander Matt Garza will toe the rubber for the Brewers. The Pirates took two of three over the Brewers earlier this season at PNC Park.
Cole Comes Through with Gem in Win Over Rockies
Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the 15th time of the season, aiming for his third win of the month. Cole limited the Rockies to only one run over seven innings in his previous start, and recorded the win to bring his record to 4-6. The Pirates ace is was hit hard in his first two starts of this month, bringing his ERA to 4.54 to go with a 1.30 WHIP in 83.1 innings pitched on the season. He battled the Brewers last month and was tremendous, allowing just one run in seven innings, and currently sits at 2-3 with a 3.42 ERA in eight career starts against Milwaukee. Ryan Braun is 1 for 10 against Cole, while Hernan Perez is 1 for 3 with a homer, and Travis Shaw is 0 for 3. Jordy Mercer is having a strong month at the dish, collecting five RBI’s over his last seven games, and is hitting .373 in the month of June. The career .259 hitter is sporting a .278 average with five home runs and 24 RBI’s on the season. Mercer is 2 for 9 against the Brewers this season.
The Pirates are currently averaging 4.24 runs per game, ranking them down at 26th overall, and own a .248 team batting average. The Pittsburgh pitching has been mediocre, sporting a 4.39 team ERA, positioning them 18th in the Major Leagues.
Garza Aims for First Quality Start in Over One Month
Matt Garza will get the call for the tenth time of the year, searching for win number four. Garza allowed four runs in five innings to the Cardinals in his previous start, notching his first win in over a month in the process. The veteran right-hander has been decent this season, posting a 4.17 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP to go with a 3-2 record in 49.2 innings pitched. He faced the Pirates last month and was terrific, holding them to one run over seven innings leading to the win, and now owns a 3-6 record with a 4.14 ERA in 14 career starts against Pittsburgh. Adam Frazier is 4 for 6 against Garza, while Andrew McCutchen is 6 for 26 with four RBI’s, and Gregory Polanco is 4 for 14. Eric Thames has found his home run swing again, belting four home runs with eight RBI’s over his last four games. The 30-year old left fielder only hit three homers last month after a sizzling April and is currently hitting .269 with 20 home runs and 38 RBI’s on the season. Thames is 4 for 12 with one homer and two RBI’s against the Pirates this season.
The Brewers continue to produce at the plate, now averaging 4.93 runs per game, good for sixth in the Majors, and feature a .251 team batting average. The Milwaukee pitching has been decent, recording a 4.27 team ERA, placing them 15th in the Major Leagues.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 2-12 in their last 14 Monday games.
- 3-9 in their last 12 games in the first game of a series.
- 22-63 in their last 85 games in Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Brewers are:
- 4-1 in their last 5 games overall.
- 4-1 in their last 5 games against a team with a losing record.
I am siding with the Brewers in this contest. Cole has struggled as of late, posting a weak 8.20 ERA over his last five starts, and he owns a 5.74 career ERA at Miller Park, so the Brewers should plate some runs in this one. Also Garza limited the Pirates to only one run in seven innings in his lone start against them this season, so I am confident backing him. Milwaukee continues to come through at the plate, scoring six or more runs in four out of their last five games, and I believe they are the play in this one.