The Milwaukee Brewers have another three games in their series against visiting Pittsburgh to prove whether they have figured out a way to solve the Pirates or whether Friday’s 9-1 walloping was an outlier.
The Pirates swept a three-game series against Milwaukee last weekend and were 4-2 in the season series before the Brewers opened a four-game set Friday with the lopsided win.
Heading into the series, Milwaukee had lost six of eight, including the sweep last weekend, and manager Craig Counsell lamented that his club wasn’t getting enough offense, wasn’t scoring enough and was putting too much pressure on its pitchers.
That turned around Friday, at least for one game. The Brewers didn’t tear it up at the plate, but of its eight hits, four were homers and one was an RBI double.
“It was a good win for the boys,” said Milwaukee catcher Jacob Nottingham, who hit one of the homers Friday after being called up with Manny Pina going on the injured list. “We’re just feeding off each other. We’re trying to come out here with a positive attitude.”
“We just didn’t finish at-bats (from a pitching standpoint),” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said, something the Brewers had a say in after they had what Ryan Braun called a “really good hitters’ meeting” Friday.
“We kind of viewed this as the start of our September,” said Braun, who also homered Friday, giving him 800 career extra-base hits. “Obviously, the last few years we’ve been able to flip that switch and be very good down the stretch.”
Friday marked the turn to the second half of this revamped, shortened season for the Brewers.
“If I had to pick a word for the season, I would say inconsistent,” Milwaukee pitcher Josh Lindblom said. “I think going forward … it just needs to be consistent from every standpoint of the game.”
The Pirates will hit the midpoint of their 60-game schedule Saturday. They have won five of their past eight games, more than doubling the four-win total they took into last weekend’s series with Milwaukee.
One Milwaukee player who hasn’t had trouble against Pittsburgh this season is left-hander Brett Anderson (2-2, 3.52 ERA), who is scheduled to start Saturday opposite Pittsburgh right-hander JT Brubaker (0-0, 4.80 ERA).
Of course, Anderson has yet to face the Pirates in 2020. After the Brewers were swept in Pittsburgh last weekend, Anderson helped soothe things when he got a win Monday against Cincinnati, giving up two runs and five hits in six innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
“The cleanest game we’ve played in a while,” Anderson called it after his second straight quality start.
In his career against Pittsburgh, Anderson is 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA in five starts.
Brubaker made his third major league start Sunday and got a no-decision as the Pirates completed their sweep. He gave up two runs and a walk and struck out six in four-plus innings, his longest career outing.
He wasn’t around last year when Pittsburgh went 4-15 against the Brewers. For him, playing against Milwaukee has been a mostly pleasant experience.
“It was fun to watch,” he said of Sunday’s game. “We played all-around baseball. It was enjoyable. Luckily, I was able to be a part of it.”
–Field Level Media