Preview: Brewers at Pirates

September 23, 2018

Perhaps the good news for the Milwaukee Brewers is that they have only one game left this year against the spoiler Pittsburgh Pirates.



The teams play Sunday at PNC Park in the finale of a weekend series and the season set. The Pirates are 12-6 against the Brewers.

Milwaukee lost ground Saturday, thanks to a 3-0 loss. The Brewers (88-67), who had a two-game winning streak halted, fell 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. The St. Louis Cardinals gained a game on the Brewers, who hold the top NL wild-card spot. Milwaukee is two games ahead of St. Louis and 3 1/2 of Colorado, which is third in the wild-card standings.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell insists his club isn't obsessing about the standings.

"We're trying to take care of our own business, and if you take care of that, something good's probably going to happen," Counsell said.

The Pirates (78-75), who need four victories to finish with a winning record, can continue to affect the division outcome with four games against the Cubs starting Monday. The Brewers' next series is against St. Louis.

Milwaukee center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who has not started the last three games because of an intercostal injury, grounded out as a pinch hitter Saturday, something Counsell called "a good thing, for sure."

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle did not have an update on catcher Francisco Cervelli (gastrointestinal discomfort) or promising reliever Edgar Santana (right forearm and elbow discomfort). Both players left in the sixth inning Friday. Neither played Saturday.

Brewers left-hander Wade Miley (5-2, 2.08 ERA) is scheduled to face Pirates right-hander Nick Kingham (5-6, 4.69) in the series finale.

For Pittsburgh, that's a change that was not announced until during Saturday's game. Right-hander Joe Musgrove had been set to start, but the club said he is being shut down for the season because of right abdominal discomfort.

Musgrove pretty obviously felt he had something to prove in what would have been two more starts in his first season with the Pirates.

"I'd like to go into the offseason feeling consistent and feeling in complete control of what I'm doing," Musgrove said last week. "I'm not going out there trying to work on certain things; I'm trying to compete and I'm going to try to put up 14 zeroes for my next two outings and try to finish on a really strong note."

The Pirates said they believe he will be able to participate in his normal offseason training and be ready for spring training.

"It's frustrating, but it's life, man," Hurdle said.

Kingham, a rookie, hasn't pitched since Sept. 8, when he appeared in two relief innings against Miami, giving up one run and two hits. His most recent start came Sept. 2 against Atlanta. He gave up one run and four hits in five innings, with four strikeouts and no walks in a no-decision.

Miley, meanwhile, has been cruising. He has won three straight starts with a 1.69 ERA in that stretch. Monday against Cincinnati, he pitched five scoreless innings and allowed five hits in an 8-0 win.

This will be his third start against Pittsburgh this season, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA. Overall, Miley is 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA in nine career starts against the Pirates.


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