By Jared Lankes
The Pirates roller coaster season continues as they got swept in Chicago after a massive series sweep in Milwaukee. Despite that, they didn’t play terribly in the Windy City, the Cubs just played better. And through all this, they still sit in the thick of the wildcard race. Now 2.5 behind the Cardinals but now are trailing the resurgent Mets by a half a game. The Pirates are in need of finding consistency just like the other wildcard teams they are contending with. The Pirates will hope to get a boost by returning home. Their last home stand didn’t go so well, so they need to do better this time around because it is September now. It’s time to get it rolling. They start with a familiar face, the Brewers.
Friday: Jameson Taillon (3-3 3.39 ERA) vs Junior Guerra (7-3 2.93 ERA) 7:05 ET
The Pirates were likely hoping to avoid Junior Guerra after how he dominated the Pirates last time they faced him. But alas, that’s not the case. Junior Guerra has been a great story for the Brewers. He’s been absolutely brilliant and has the skills to keep it going. We will see if the Pirates can muster anything up against him. The Pirates are also sending a guy to the mound with a great story, Jameson Taillon. Taillon has emerged onto the scene after being called up in June. However, his last start against these same Brewers wasn’t very good. Taillon has had time to adjust, so we will see if he capitalizes on those adjustments.
Saturday: Ivan Nova (11-6 4.41 ERA) vs Jimmy Nelson (7-13 4.45 ERA) 7:05 ET
It took the Pirates a little while last week to pounce on Jimmy Nelson, but once they did, it all came quickly. Just like Taillon, Nelson will have to adjust and we will see if the adjustments work out. For the Pirates, Ivan Nova gets the start after looking great against Milwaukee on Sunday. This ends up being a case of the opposing hitters adjusting. If the Brewers can do it, they’ll have a good shot against Nova.
Sunday: Steven Brault (0-1 3.86 ERA) vs Chase Anderson (7-11 4.92 ERA) 1:35 ET
Chase Anderson faces the Pirates yet again. It seems like every series these two teams play, Anderson has gotten a start. I don’t think the Pirates will complain given their success against him. As for the Pirates, Steven Brault gets another start for the Pirates. Despite looking bad in Chicago, Brault has earned his chance to pitch in an MLB rotation. He faced the Brewers in Milwaukee in late July and held his own. It’s been awhile since then, so it’s hard to use that matchup as a measuring stick.
The Pirates are in desperate need of winning another series. Every series and every game is vital now that we are in September. Playing a home series against a bad team means that winning at least 2 of 3 is something that needs to be done. This will be a big series of adjustments since these two just saw each other last weekend. Whichever team adjusts better will have a great shot at winning.