Milwaukee Brewers (12-5) at Pittsburgh Pirates (8-9)
Saturday, April 19 - 7:05 PM EST
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
After splitting the first two games of their four-game series, the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates square off again Saturday evening in Pittsburgh. The Pirates took Thursday's series opener 11-2 before falling 5-3 on Friday as Carlos Gomez homered and drove in two runs for the Brewers. Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is 4-for-7 with three walks and three RBIs in the series and will take aim at Matt Garza in this one.
Wandy Rodriguez starts for Pittsburgh and must contend with former MVP Ryan Braun, who has hit .360 against left-handed pitching over the last three years, including a 5-for-14 start to 2014. However, Braun has not homered since belting three against Philadelphia on April 8 and has not driven in a run in any of his last seven games. Another player who has seen his power disappear of late is former Mets first baseman Ike Davis, who was acquired by the Pirates on Friday and has no home runs and one RBI over his last nine contests.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Matt Garza (0-2, 3.43 ERA) vs. Pirates LH Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 7.31)
Milwaukee has been shut out twice in Garza's three starts, including Monday's 4-0 defeat vs. St. Louis. The nine-year veteran allowed a season-high four runs and nine hits in seven innings against the Cardinals, yielding two home runs after giving up one over his first two outings. Garza is 1-2 with a 3.54 ERA in five lifetime starts against Pittsburgh.
Rodriguez has allowed five home runs in 16 innings over his first three starts, including three in Monday's defeat at Cincinnati. "It's a challenging time for him," said manager Clint Hurdle, "but I'm not going to run to answers right away, because I've seen three outings and his velocity is down a tick." For his career, Rodriguez is 10-10 with a 4.06 ERA against the Brewers.
1. Among the Brewers with terrific career numbers against Rodriguez are Braun (.383, four homers, 11 RBIs in 47 at-bats), Aramis Ramirez (.368 in 57 at-bats) and Rickie Weeks (.304 in 46 at-bats).
2. Gomez has struck out 10 times in his last five games.
3. Garza has held opponents to a .167 average with runners in scoring position this season.
PREDICTION: Pirates 8, Brewers 5