The Milwaukee Brewers will open up a three-game series Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. At home, the Brew Crew is a heavy -240 favorite to win.
Last weekend, the Brewers took three of four games from the Pirates in Pittsburgh. However, they had an unusual week, dropping two of three games to the Marlins, including a 16-0 blowout at the hands of the Fish on Tuesday. The good news for Milwaukee is that they remain even with the Cubs at the top of the NL Central standings.
The Pirates, meanwhile, bounced back from losing last weekend’s series to the Brewers by taking two of three games from the Braves. Pittsburgh continues to hover around the .500 mark and is currently one game under. However, the Pirates are just four games behind both Milwaukee and Chicago in the NL Central, so they’re very much in contention at this point.
Just a Rookie
Rookie Davis will get the start for Pittsburgh on Friday. He’s getting an audition for the team’s rotation with Nick Kingham being moved to the bullpen. It will be his first big league start since he made six starts for the Reds in 2017. In those six starts, he went 1-3 with an 8.59 ERA, pitching only 22 innings. He hasn’t fared much better in four relief outings with the Pirates this season, posting a 5.87 ERA over 7 2/3 innings. Nevertheless, he’s getting a chance to start.
Obviously, Davis has his work cut out for him against a lineup that’s anchored by reigning MVP Christian Yelich. With Yelich’s 23 home runs on the season and Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal contributing 18 and 13, respectively, the Brewers have some major power on the left side. Many of the right-hand hitters in Milwaukee’s lineup at slumping right now, but the Yelich, Moustakas, and Grandal trio has combined for six home runs over the past week.
Bringing the Wood
Brandon Woodruff is in line to start Friday’s game for the Brewers. Over his first 12 starts of the season, he’s 7-1 with a 3.82 ERA, becoming one of the few constants in a rotation that’s been hit by injuries. After a sluggish April, Woodruff was outstanding in May, pitching to a 1.36 ERA and going 4-0 in five starts.
That being said, Woodruff was roughed up a little when he faced the Pirates last weekend, lasting only four innings and giving up six runs on 10 hits. However, he handled the Pirates in a couple of relief outings last year, so he has a chance to bounce back on Friday. Of course, the Pittsburgh lineup as a whole is heating up lately. Starling Marte is scorching at the moment, going 13 for 28 over the last week. In fact, almost all of the Pittsburgh regulars are hitting over .300 during the past week.
Play It Safe
With a big money line, this would normally be a good time to take a chance on the Pirates as an underdog, especially with a red-hot lineup. However, Davis can’t be trusted, and Woodruff is too good not to bounce back from a rough outing. The Pirates have a chance, but bet on the Brewers -240 to win on Friday.