By Jared Lankes
The Pirates take a trip they haven’t made this year yet but one they will make a lot over the latter part of the season. This trip is to Milwaukee. We all are aware of the Pirates’ seemingly endless horrors in Miller Park. The Pirates have been slightly better there over the last couple of years, but it still haunts them. The Pirates have overcome that in previous seasons to still be really good, but they have to start playing better in Milwaukee. Hopefully it starts in 2016, particularly starting this series.
Friday: Junior Guerra (6-2 2.85 ERA) vs Steven Brault (0-0 2.25 ERA) 8:10 ET
The Pirates faced Junior Guerra last time and got to him early but not again. He’s had a shockingly good season. Pirates bats are going to have their hands full. For the Pirates, it’s Steven Brault, who is making his 2nd major league start. He looked good despite only going 4 innings. Hopefully he is able to keep up what he did in that start except go deeper in the game. He has looked great his last few starts in AAA, so he’s riding a good stretch right now. He will have to continue that.
Saturday: Chase Anderson (5-10 5.40 ERA) vs Jameson Taillon (2-1 3.83 ERA) 7:10 ET
The Pirates also faced Chase Anderson last time and actually pounded him. The problem was that Jeff Locke was worse. If the Pirates bats can do that again, they have a shot. For the Pirates, it’s Jameson Taillon, who was hit in the head by a liner the last time he saw the Brewers. He still dominated despite it. He also had a decent start against the Phillies after that. He just looks to keep steady as a starter for the Pirates because that is just what the team needs the most right now.
Sunday: Matt Garza (1-4 5.74 ERA) vs Francisco Liriano (6-10 5.36 ERA) 2:10 ET
This is a battle of two struggling veterans. Firstly, we’ll look at Matt Garza. He’s been nothing but bad, and the Pirates took advantage of it just a week ago. The Bucco bats will look to build on that, and Garza will look to rebound. It’s a battle of who makes the proper adjustments. For the Pirates, it’s the guy that beat Garza in that start, Francisco Liriano. He dazzled in a start to beat the Brewers that night. However, his last start was the exact opposite. He has yet to get in a groove this season, and that really needs to change. The Pirates trot Liriano out there with the belief that he will do just that. If we see the Liriano of the last few years, it’d be an enormous boost. It has to start sooner rather than later.
The Pirates have to start winning in Milwaukee. It is quite literally that simple. If they don’t, it’s going to be a rough rest of the way for the team. If so, they’ll get a massive boost. It all starts with this series. It’s time to end this Milwaukee curse and start anew in Miller Park.