Milwaukee Brewers (79-70 SU, 81-68 RL, 65-77-7 O/U) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (68-82 SU, 76-74 RL, 59-85-6 O/U)
MLB: Monday, September 18, 2017 at 7:05 p.m. EST
The Line: Milwaukee Brewers -115/Pittsburgh Pirates -105. Total: 8.5.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers will begin a three-game series when they square off at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Monday night. Milwaukee has won four of its last five contests, including two against Pittsburgh. The Pirates have lost a ridiculous five games in a row and 10 of their last 11.
Need to make a move
The Brewers have played some of their best baseball of late without making up much ground in the playoff race, so they must continue their hot streak if they want to gain on the Cubs in the National League Central. Milwaukee has won seven of its last nine games–including a three-game sweep of first-place Chicago–but remains four games behind the Cubs and 2.5 back of Colorado for the second NL wild card.
“When you’re chasing, you have little margin for error,” manager Craig Counsell noted. “The teams ahead of us are doing a good job of winning games, and we know the margin is slim. Losses make it a little bit slower. We’ll answer.”
Brent Suter (2-2, 3.66 ERA) is taking the mound for Milwaukee on Monday. The left-hander doesn’t have a win since July 28, going 0-1 with a 6.33 ERA in six games (five starts) since then. He is still getting stretched out after returning from a rotator cuff injury on Sept. 3 and was limited to 50 pitches over three innings against the Pirates last Tuesday, but he should be in line for 70 to 75 this time. Suter has posted a 2.77 ERA without recording a decision in six games (two starts) against Pittsburgh.
Taillon getting tagged
The only thing Pittsburgh to play for is staying out of the cellar in the NL Central. The Pirates are only two games ahead of last-place Cincinnati following Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Reds. Infielder John Jaso hit his 10th home run, giving Pittsburgh seven players with double digits in homers this season.
Jameson Taillon (7-6, 4.78 ERA) will oppose Suter on Monday. The right-hander is making his first start in 11 days and looks to turn around a rocky second half during which he is saddled with a 7.17 ERA in 11 starts. Taillon has to deal with a Brewers lineup that matched a season high with 16 hits in Sunday’s 10-3 win over Miami, as half of those hits came during an eight-run fourth inning. The 25-year-old is 1-2 with a 3.76 ERA in five career outings against the Brewers, including a win in the only meeting this season.
The Milwaukee Brewers are:
- 6-2 in their last eight overall
- 4-1 in their last five road games
- 5-1 in their last six games against the National League Central
The Pittsburgh Pirates are:
- 0-5 in their last five overall
- 0-6 in their last six games games against right-handed starters
- 7-19 in their last 26 games against teams with winning records
Brewers’ right fielder Domingo Santana is 9-for-25 with two doubles and a homer during a six-game hitting streak and has recorded multiple RBIs in three of his last four contests. Milwaukee’s bullpen has allowed only four earned runs in 36.2 innings over the last nine games. Taillon winless in his last five starts, going 0-1 with a 5.84 ERA since a success at Toronto on Aug. 11. He was tagged for six runs and 11 hits over 4.2 innings in a loss to the Cubs on Sept. 7 before getting some extra rest. Milwaukee is 6-2 in its last eight overall, 4-1 in its last five on the road, 5-1 in its last six against the National League Central, and 5-2 in Suter’s last seven starts. The Pirates are 0-5 in their last five overall, 0-6 in their last six against right-handed starters, 7-19 in their last 26 against winning opponents, 2-8 in their last 10 series openers, and 1-4 in the last five meetings between the two teams. Look for those trends to continue.