MILWAUKEE — It's been a dismal season at times for the Milwaukee Brewers, who are nearing the end of the first full year of rebuilding under the watchful eye of general manager David Stearns.
But one thing that's gone right for the Brewers in 2016 is their home record. Milwaukee finished up a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon to improve to 36-29 at home, where they've won six of their last eight games including four in a row.
“I know we've had stretches throughout my tenure here where that's been the case,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “It's just one of those weird things. Most teams in baseball are a little bit more comfortable at home, have a little better routines at home, and play better at home.”
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History suggests the Brewers' winning ways at home will continue this weekend when the Pittsburgh Pirates roll into town for a four-game set that starts Thursday night.
Miller Park has been nothing short of a house of horrors for the Pirates, who have lost nine in a row in Milwaukee and are 17-64 at Miller Park since the start of the 2007 season.
The Brewers have tormented the Pirates in general during that stretch, posting a 103-54 record.
“They've played better than us,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday after his squad fell to Houston 5-4. “I know it sounds (simplistic). They have. And we're due. That's the way I look at it. The longer you go without winning a game somewhere, the better your chances are to win. It's our time to do something there.”
Chad Kuhl tries o stop the bleeding when he takes the mound Thursday for his eighth career start and fourth since he was brought back from the minors Aug. 9.
He was 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA when he was sent down in mid-July and in three starts since hasn't allowed more than two earned runs and worked six innings each time out.
Kuhl took no-decision after his last outing, when he allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits without a walk or a strikeout in a 3-1 loss to the Marlins.
“I thought he pitched a very competitive ballgame,” Hurdle said. “He pitched out of traffic in the third inning, when it could have really got complicated. He showed really good poise to get the ground ball to get the double play to end the inning. I thought he pitched very good ballgame.”
Milwaukee, meanwhile, turns to Wily Peralta, who has looked sharp since returning from a two-month demotion to Triple-A.
The Brewers' opening day starter was 4-7 with a 6.68 ERA in 13 starts when sent down July 11.
Since returning, though, he's 1-2 with a 3.50 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 18 innings over three starts.
“I found my rhythm and felt better about my pitches,” Peralta said of his time in the minors. “The pitches don't move where they are supposed to there but you have to do whatever you can and make sure you get on top of your pitches. It's not easy; you have to learn.
“You have to make sure your timing and rhythm is there. If it's not, the pitch is not going to do anything.”