The PITTSBURGH and the MILWAUKEE will both be gunning for a victory on 9/11/2017 at 7:40 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
GAME: Pittsburgh Pirates (67-77) at Milwaukee Brewers (75-68)
DATE/TIME: Monday, September 11 – 7:40 PM EST
WHERE: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV: 7:40 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Pittsburgh, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Steven Brault (0-0, 5.79 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.52)
PREDICTION: Brewers 7, Pirates 4
Oddsmakers currently have the MILWAUKEE listed as -160 point favorites versus the PITTSBURGH, while the game’s total is sitting at 9.
MILWAUKEE — Just like that, the National League Central has a race again.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ hopes of overtaking the Chicago Cubs for the top spot in the division took a big hit last week when they were swept by the lowly Cincinnati Reds. However, thanks to Milwaukee’s surprising sweep of the Cubs over the weekend at Wrigley Field, the Brewers (75-68) sit just two games back of Chicago ahead of the opener of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night at Miller Park.
The St. Louis Cardinals (75-68) are also two games behind the Cubs (77-66).
The Pirates (67-77) are on the outside looking in at the postseason race. They were swept by the Cardinals in a three-game weekend series and have lost five in a row. Still, the Brewers say they won’t overlook Pittsburgh after learning a valuable lesson last week against the last-place Reds.
“(Monday) is going to be a really big game, too. Real big game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I previewed this for you guys about a month ago, that (every day) we could say, ‘This is the biggest game of the year, the biggest series of the year.’ And we’re in it. We’re in that part of the season.”
Rookie right-hander Brandon Woodruff gets the nod for Milwaukee in the series opener. He is off to a good start in his first major league go-round, producing a 1-1 record and 1.52 ERA in four stars. He is holding opposing batters to a .200 average with just one home run allowed in 23 2/3 innings.
He struck out a career-high eight his last time out while dueling Cy Young Award candidate Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. Woodruff gave up a run on two hits in seven innings, during a no-decision as the Brewers fell 3-2.
“Brandon was up for every bit of it,” Counsell said. “He matched (Scherzer), for sure. Brandon’s performance certainly bodes well for us. In his first four starts, it is very exciting what we are getting from him.”
Woodruff has never faced the Pirates, who turn to their own rookie, left-hander Stephen Brault, as they try to play spoiler. Brault earned Pitcher of the Year honors in the Triple-A International League after going 10-5 with a 1.94 ERA in 21 games for Indianapolis. For the Pirates this season, he has no decisions and a 5.79 ERA in seven appearances, including one start.
Brault’s lone start came against the Cubs on Tuesday, when he allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings.
“I like the way that he was, for the most part, able to get ahead of hitters, stay in the fight and pitch five competitive innings against a pretty good lineup the other time,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
By starting Brault on Monday, Hurdle will give the rest of his rotation an extra day of rest.
“We’re trying to hit a pause button for a couple of different starters,” Hurdle said. “Our plan has been for a while to get (Brault) back up here and get him engaged from a starting-rotation view, keep him on somewhat of a routine.”
Brault will be facing Milwaukee for the first time.
The Pirates have won eight of 13 meetings between the two teams this season. However, the Brewers, who have dominated the Pirates at Miller Park the past few seasons, have won four of the past six contests in Milwaukee.