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Turning Point: Pirates Visit Brewers For Potentially Defining Series

Through two months of the 2012 Major League Baseball season, the Pittsburgh Pirates (25-25) are .500. Should they finish the season with that winning percentage, it would be the first time since 1992 that the Pirates won as many or more games than they lost.

The Bucs are a respectable 10-8 against NL Central opponents after taking two of three from the division leading Cincinnati Reds.

Tonight, the Pirates will meet the only team in the division they haven’t faced so far this year when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers (23-28).

Unfortunately, the Brewers are also the only NL Central team the Pirates have struggled notably against in recent years, as evidenced by Pittsburgh’s 4-38 record in Milwaukee since 2007. That’s as close to winless as you’re going to see in that kind of situation.

The Pirates are currently third in the division, 1.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and 3 games behind the Reds. The Brewers sit 2.5 games behind the Bucs, so an all-too-common sweep in Milwaukee could lead to the Pirates losing the third spot in this wide open division.

The Brewers enter tonight’s game on a four-game win streak after taking all four from the formidable Los Angeles Dodgers.

Milwaukee’s 11-13 home record is nothing to be scared of, but the Pirates are just 9-14 on the road this year and that doesn’t include Miller Park.

At 8:10PM tonight, we’ll see Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.30) and Randy Wolf (2-4, 5.73) pitching for their respective sides.

Correia is everybody’s least favorite pitcher – and for good reason – but he’s generally better on the road for Pittsburgh than he is at PNC Park, though his splits this season don’t indicate that.

Regardless, this series is big in more ways than one. Obviously the Pirates are within reach of the division lead right now. Should they somehow take all three from Milwaukee and watch the Reds somehow drop all three games of their series with Houston, the Pirates could be tied for tops in the NL Central depending on how the Cardinals handle the New York Mets.

But if the curse continues and the Pirates struggle with the Brewers, they could be back in fourth place by midweek and far enough back from the top of the division to cause some concern.

Perhaps more importantly, though, if the Pirates can overcome whatever it is that causes them to lose unconditionally in Milwaukee, the morale among both fans and players could skyrocket. Victories against the Brewers are generally few and far between, so a series win or sweep could mean turning the next page for the Pirates.

The Bucs have a winning record against every team in the division aside from the Cardinals right now. With the division more winnable now than it has been in a decade, intradivision wins have never been so important.

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