Preview: Brewers at Pirates
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin could have gotten something richer than the two-year, $15.5 million contract he signed with Milwaukee during the offseason.
It turns out the Brewers certainly cashed in.
Chacin (6-1, 3.32 ERA), who faces right-hander Trevor Williams (5-4, 4.38) and the Pittsburgh Pirates in a series opener Monday at PNC Park, is 6-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his past 12 starts, a career-high six-game winning streak.
The Brewers are 12-3 in his starts overall.
“He’s PITCHING,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said after Chacin’s last outing, when he gave up one run in six innings Wednesday and combined with three relievers for a 1-0 shutout against the Cubs in Chicago.
“He’s got some cunning and some craftiness out there, as well as good stuff.”
Chacin, who is 2-3 with a 4.76 ERA in seven career starts against Pittsburgh, introduced a split-fingered fastball Wednesday, switching to that after he struggled with command on his changeup.
His performance more than 2 1/2 months into the season would seem to make him quite a deal for Milwaukee. He has no regrets.
“I’ve never been a guy who wanted a lot of attention,” Chacin said. “I just want to go out there and do my job. I was happy to sign here because I saw the chemistry last year. I’m 30 years old, but I’ve been in the big leagues a little bit longer, and I really want to win. This is a good young team.”
Milwaukee (42-29) lost its second straight Sunday, 10-9 to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pittsburgh (35-36), which won two of three against Milwaukee in a series in early May, sits fourth in National League Central. The Pirates lost 8-6 Sunday to the Cincinnati Reds to end a three-game winning streak but still won a series after losing eight in a row.
“If somebody would have told me you’re going to lose eight series, you’d think you’re going to be horrible,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’re not horrible. We’re fighting. And we believe that our best baseball is in front of us. You’ve got to go play it, though.”
Second baseman Josh Harrison said that mindset has permeated the clubhouse.
“For one, nothing changes for us as far as our day-to-day grind, preparing,” he said. “But we also know what’s happened here the past couple weeks. Guys are still plugging away and coming ready to show up every day. … We’ve just got to continue bringing it every day.”
Williams is in need of a turnaround just like his club. He won his first three 2018 starts, but he is 0-2 with an 8.57 ERA in his past five starts. Most recently, he gave up three earned runs (eight total) and six hits in three innings Tuesday in a 13-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Williams is 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA in three career appearances, two of them starts, against the Brewers.