Baseball fans in the Steel City are panicking following the Pirates’ last two weeks of baseball. After looking like one of the best teams in the entire league at points earlier in the season, the Pirates have struggled in all facets of the game lately, including starting pitching, bullpen, defense, and at the plate. Following their recent 2-4 road trip against the Cardinals and Padres, the Bucs are just 8-13 in the month of August, and have fallen eight games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Reds and a game out of the final Wild Card spot.
Andrew McCutchen, the league’s leading hitter and the outright favorite for the MVP award a month ago, has fallen on hard times recently, struggling through a 6-29 road trip. While Garrett Jones had been red-hot as of late, the rest of the team is lacking consistency at the plate, and paired with a suddenly unreliable pitching staff, the Pirates are walking on shaky ground right now.
Tonight, the Pirates return to PNC Park, a place in which they have played great baseball for the most part this season, for the start of a six-game home stand against two N.L. Central teams. In fact, the Bucs’ next 28 games will all be against divisional foes, giving them a huge opportunity to make up ground in the division.
Brewers (57-66) vs. Pirates (67-57)
About the Brewers…
57-66 Record, 4th In N.L. Central
Last Series: 3-0 Series Sweep vs. Chicago Cubs
This season has been a huge disappointment for the Brewers and their fans. Not only have they missed the powerhouse offensive numbers of Prince Fielder, but their underperformance through the first half of the season, combined with interpersonal and financial issues, dealt away Zack Greinke and released Randy Wolf. Yes, these are not the same Milwaukee Brewers we’re used to seeing.
It’s been a consistently sub-par season for the Brewers, following a 2011 campaign that saw them as one of the hottest teams in all of baseball heading into the postseason. They have yet to tally a winning record in any month thus far, including a 12-14 month of July when they endured an abysmal 1-9 stretch at one point. Milwaukee is currently in fourth place in the N.L. Central, 17.5 games behind division-leading Cincinnati and 10.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot.
Despite his team’s shortcomings, Ryan Braun is putting together a very impressive season. Following an offseason full of discrepancies, controversies, and a near suspension, Braun is once again one of the top candidates for the N.L. MVP Award, with the main strike against him being lack of his team’s success. Braun leads the team in batting average (.308), homeruns (34), RBI’s (85), and runs scored (81), while Aramis Ramirez, who was brought in to help compensate for the loss of Fielder, has added 17 homeruns and 72 RBI’s to go along with his .286 batting average.
8/24 – Mike Fiers (MIL) (6-6, 2.90 ERA, 86 K, 20 BB, WHIP 1.14) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (PIT) (8-12, 4.00 ERA, 104 K, 41 BB, WHIP 1.31)
8/25 – Shaun Marcum (MIL) (5-3, 3.39 ERA, 77 K, 26 BB, WHIP 1.17) vs. Jeff Karstens (PIT) (4-3, 3.79 ERA, 54 K, 15 BB, WHIP 1.13)
8/26 – Mark Rogers (MIL) (1-1, 5.02 ERA, 31 K, 9 BB, WHIP 1.29) vs. Erik Bedard (PIT) (7-13, 4.76 ERA, 115 K, 54 BB, WHIP 1.46)
The Pirates and Brewers will face off this weekend for three games at PNC Park. We’ll be in attendance for two of the three games this weekend, so be sure to check back here for pre and post game videos, game recaps, and our Bucco Beat podcast, all from weekend long from us, the Fans From The Stands!
Let’s Go Bucs!