The Pittsburgh Pirates (48-37) and Milwaukee Brewers (40-45) will open a three-game National League Central series on Friday night at Miller Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 ET
Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh will hit the road after going 6-1 on its recently completed homestand before the All-Star break. The Pirates have also gone 11-1-1 in their last 13 series, which has everyone in the clubhouse excited about starting the second half of the season. “We worked hard to get to where we are,” stated Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen is the player to watch, as he knocked his 17th and 18th home runs of the season last Sunday. Pittsburgh is 19-7 in its last 26 divisional games.
Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald (9-3, 2.37 ERA) has won his last four starts, including a 3-1 home victory over the San Francisco Giants last time out. The right-hander has gone 4-2 with a 3.54 ERA in seven road outings, with opposing hitters batting just .217 against him. In seven career games (three starts) versus the Brewers, McDonald has tallied a 1-2 record and 4.84 ERA, picking up that lone victory on the road on June 3.
Milwaukee alternated wins and losses over its last four games heading into the Midsummer Classic, including a 5-3 road win over the Houston Astros on Sunday. The Brewers are hoping that second baseman Rickie Weeks will get going offensively, as he’s hitting just .199, but has left the yard twice in his last three games. 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun is having another special year, batting .306 with 24 home runs and 61 RBIs. Milwaukee is 47-15 in its last 62 meetings in this series.
Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.32 ERA) pitched in back-to-back outings against the Houston Astros before the All-Star break, as he was thrown out of the first game without recording an out on July 7. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA in seven home outings, issuing just 10 walks and striking out 56 batters in 47.2 combined innings. In five career games versus the Pirates, Greinke has tallied a 4-1 record and 5.17 ERA, including a 3-1 mark and 5.76 ERA in four outings last year.
Bettors will likely back the Brewers due to their 23-1 record in Greinke’s last 24 home starts, while the Pirates are 0-4 in McDonald’s last four Friday efforts.