For what seems like the millionth time already this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Miller Park in Milwaukee to take on the Milwaukee Brewers in a three game series. Miller Park, or “The House of Horrors” as Pirates’ fans have grown accustomed to calling it, hasn’t been kind to the Pirates. Out of the previous 102 games played against the Brewers at Milwaukee, the Pirates have won only 32 of them. Over the last seven seasons, the Pirates are 8-46 at Miller Park.
Remarkably, the Pirates actually won the previous series against the Brew Crew, but it was at PNC Park. The season series currently sits at 4-3, with the Pirates on top.
Game one: A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.57 ERA) vs Marco Estrada (3-2, 5.44 ERA)
The Pirates’ ace will look to shut the Brewers down in the opener of the series and help the Bucs pick up a win. In Burnett’s career, he is just 2-5 with a 4.87 ERA against the Brewers. The Pirates, on the other hand, have struggled mightily against Estrada. Andrew McCutchen is the only Pirates’ player to hit Estrada well, with seven hits in 22 at-bats.
Game two: Jeff Locke (4-1, 2.73 ERA) vs Mike Fiers (1-2, 5.93 ERA)
Kyle Lohse was supposed to start for the Brewers, but he has been scratched due to injury. Locke has been a huge surprise for the Pirates in 2013, but I fear it’s only a matter of time before he starts to struggle due to his lack of strikeouts and his extreme luck. His line drive rate is very high and he doesn’t strike batters out, so at some point hits are going to start coming against him. Also, I have a bad feeling about a contact pitcher like Locke pitching in a home run derby style park like Miller Park. Fiers is the pitcher that gave up the walk-off home run to McCutchen last week at PNC Park.
Game three: Wandy Rodriguez (5-2, 3.40 ERA) vs Yovani Gallardo (3-4, 4.50 ERA)
Rodriguez has been a pleasant surprise for the Pirates, while Gallardo has been disappointing for the Brewers. Rodriguez has been getting guys out, while Gallardo has been getting busted for driving while extremely intoxicated yet somehow not getting suspended for it. However, in his last start at Miller Park, Rodriguez got lit up, giving up seven runs in just 3.2 innings.
I think the Pirates can find a way to win two of these games; I really do. At some point the Miller Park curse has to end, and I just think this Pirates team is so much better than in recent years. The Pirates will win Burnett’s start and Rodriguez’s start, but Locke will get hit around I’m guessing.