Pittsburgh Pirates (65-62) at Milwaukee Brewers (71-56)
Friday, August 22 - 8:10 PM EST
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Milwaukee Brewers attempt to continue their home dominance of Pittsburgh when they host the Pirates on Friday in the opener of a three-game series. Milwaukee is 53-13 at home against Pittsburgh since the beginning of the 2007 season and is 5-1 at Miller Park and 10-3 overall against the Pirates this season. The Brewers lead the National League Central by 1 1/2 games over St. Louis and are six ahead of the Pirates, who stand 2 1/2 games back in the race for the NL's second wild card.
Pittsburgh snapped a seven-game losing streak by rallying to defeat the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. The Pirates were nipping on Milwaukee’s heels earlier this month before the deep swoon and just got star center field Andrew McCutchen (0-for-8 in two games) back from a rib injury that prompted a stint on the 15-day disabled list. Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy has 42 doubles, five off the major-league record set by Texas’ Ivan Rodriguez (1996) for most doubles by a player who spent at least half his playing time as a catcher.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Jeff Locke (4-3, 3.73 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 3.32)
Locke tossed 5 2/3 innings of four-hit shutout ball against Washington in his last start without getting a decision. He lost to Milwaukee on June 8 despite giving up one run and three hits in seven innings and is 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA in five career outings against the Brewers. Locke is 1-2 with a 3.66 ERA in six road starts this season.
Gallardo has won three of his past four starts and defeated Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last turn. He allowed one run and six hits for the second straight outing and has given up six total runs over his last five starts. Gallardo is 12-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 24 career appearances (23 starts) against the Pirates, including a victory on June 8 when he pitched seven innings of four-hit shutout ball.
1. Brewers CF Carlos Gomez, who is 5-for-11 against Locke, is 6-for-14 with three homers, four RBIs and eight runs scored over the past four contests.
2. McCutchen is 15-for-49 with three homers against Gallardo, while 3B Pedro Alvarez is only 2-for-29 with 12 strikeouts.
3. Milwaukee RF Ryan Braun is 4-for-29 over the last seven games.
PREDICTION: Brewers 5, Pirates 3