The Milwaukee Brewers (74-72) will play the Pittsburgh Pirates (74-72) in a critical three-game series that could determine who will continue playing in October and who will go home. Both teams are 2.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot. The Brewers are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Pirates are 2-8.
Tuesday September 18, 2012
Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.72 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (15-7, 3.66 ERA)
The first game of the series will bring about two outstanding pitchers as aces Yovani Gallardo and A.J. Burnett clash. Gallardo has been outstanding in the second half of the season and has been even better since Zack Greinke was traded. Over that span, he is 7-0 with a 2.98 ERA in nine starts. Gallardo leads all of baseball with 24 quality starts and the Brewers have won their last nine games with him on the mound.
Burnett continues to pitch well but is 0-3 in his last five starts after Pittsburgh has failed to give him any run support. He has been hot and cold against Milwaukee this season so it really depends what Burnett will show up on Tuesday. In his last start against the Brewers, he took a no-decision after allowing two earned runs on two hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Wednesday September 19, 2012
Marco Estrada (3-6, 3.77 ERA) vs. Kyle McPherson (0-0, 1.54 ERA)
Marco Estrada has pitched great for the most part lately, as he is 3-1 in his last five starts with two of those coming against Wild Card contenders. Estrada has given up five earned runs in those five outings with four of the runs coming in one game against the Miami Marlins. In his last start against the Pirates on Sept. 1, Estrada struck out 10 batters while only allowing one earned run on four hits in seven innings.
Kyle McPherson will start his first Major League game, as he will be taking James McDonald’s spot in the starting rotation. As good as McDonald was in the first half of the season, he has made little impact in the recent games that matter. The Pirates are hoping McPherson can give them a boost in the right direction in a crucial start against another contender.
Thursday September 20, 2012
Michael Fiers (9-8, 3.23 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (11-13, 3.65 ERA)
Michael Fiers is 3-2 in his last five starts and continues his inconsistent ways. For a long stretch in the middle of the season, Fiers was the most consistent starter Milwaukee had. Unfortunately, now he will pitch lights out in one game and then give up four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings the next. Fiers needs to find his command and be the player the Brewers know he is capable of being as the team is counting on him for some wins down the stretch.
Wandy Rodriguez has been outstanding since taking a loss against Milwaukee on Aug. 24. Since then, he has allowed only four earned runs and struck out 19 batters in four starts. Rodriguez is pitching exactly how the Pirates hoped he would after acquiring him in a trade this season. This will certainly be a solid match up considering there could be plenty riding on the last game of the series.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.