The Milwaukee Brewers come bopping into Pittsburgh on quite a roll for a four-game set against the Pirates starting Thursday.
The Brewers have won eight consecutive games. On Wednesday, they completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Chicago Cubs with a wild 15-7 win when they fell behind 7-0 in the first inning, then staged a humongous comeback.
“We’ve been working and trying to stay consistent,” Brewers third baseman Luis Urias, who homered twice Wednesday, told Bally Sports Wisconsin. “I feel like everybody’s doing their job, and it’s been fun.”
Things are going so well for Milwaukee that second baseman Jace Peterson said afterward that even down 7-0 early there was a sense of confidence that there would be a comeback win.
“Obviously, we’ve been playing some good baseball,” Peterson said. “Really, all facets of the game we’ve been playing good — we’ve been pitching well, playing good defense and putting together good at-bats all through the lineup.”
Pittsburgh is missing that kind of consistency.
The Pirates were just swept in three games by the Colorado Rockies in Denver. They managed only two runs total and were shut out twice in what is normally a hitters’ ballpark, a sharp turn for the worse after winning three of four previously against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“We came into the (Rockies) series swinging the bats pretty well in St. Louis and did not swing the bats well (in Denver) at all,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said.
In the series opener Thursday, Milwaukee right-hander Corbin Burnes (3-4, 2.53 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Wil Crowe (1-4, 6.50).
Crowe, who will be making his 11th start this year and 14th of his career, finally picked up his first major league win his last time out. That was Friday at St. Louis, where he pitched five innings and gave up four runs and eight hits — including two homers — with two walks and two strikeouts in a 5-4 Pirates victory.
“Not a lot of people have wins in the big leagues, and (that might be) the modern stat people might not care (about) or whatever,” Crowe said. “I don’t care. It’s a ‘W,’ and I get to say that I won a big league game, and that’s awesome. And no one can take that away from me “
It was hard-earned, as Crowe dealt with a career-most 11 baserunners over four innings. Shelton stuck with Crowe for the fifth, and it was the only frame during which he did not allow a runner.
“That fifth inning for me was a big growing moment, a big opportunity,” Crowe said.
Perhaps Crowe’s best start this season came in his only career game against Milwaukee. On the road on June 13, he allowed back-to-back hits to lead off the first, then retired 15 straight batters in what became a no-decision. He exited after allowing two runs in five-plus innings.
Burnes has had three straight no-decisions, including one June 12 against Pittsburgh.
He had a strong game his last start, Friday against Colorado, when he took a no-hitter into the sixth. He gave up one run and three hits in his six innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts in what became a walk-off Brewers win.
In his career, Burnes is 3-0 with a 3.19 ERA in 15 appearances, three of them starts, against the Pirates.
–Field Level Media