Preview: Brewers vs. Pirates
MILWAUKEE — Travis Shaw is expected to be in the lineup Friday night when the Milwaukee Brewers open a three-game weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
The Brewers third baseman fouled a pitch off his right foot in the second inning of Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory Wednesday at Cincinnati. He left the game, but X-rays were negative and with an off-day Thursday, manager Craig Counsell didn’t expect Shaw to miss any additional time.
“Just a bruise,” Counsell said.
Shaw has appeared in all but one of Milwaukee’s 32 games this season and started 30. He snapped an 0-for-19 skid during the series against the Reds and he’s batting .241 this season with six home runs and 16 RBIs.
Shaw, the team leader with 19 runs scored, eight doubles and 53 total bases, plans to wear a shin guard from now on to protect the foot.
“It’ll be on Friday,” Shaw said. “I’ll be fine.”
Junior Guerra gets the start for Milwaukee, hoping to bounce back after taking a tough-luck loss last weekend to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
He held Chicago to a run and three hits in six innings, walking two with six strikeouts in the Brewers’ 3-0 loss. He hasn’t allowed more than a run in any of his four starts this season.
“We need, and I think every club needs, some surprises,” Counsell said. “You need some positive surprises. I think we can definitely say Junior thus far has been one. But at the same time this is a player that had a highly impressive season and we’re not talking five years removed from it.
“It (was) 2016. And he’s off to a good start. It’s certainly a boost for us and something we needed.”
The Pirates counter with rookie right-hander Nick Kingham, who earned a second start after taking a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Cardinals
“It was awesome,” said Kingham, who spent nine seasons in the minors and worked his way back from Tommy John surgery before his debut. “I’m thankful and proud that I get to continue on with the guys.”
Kingham struck out nine St. Louis batters to earn at least a second start.
“We had two different plans drawn up and that was one of the plans we had drawn up,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Monday. “We felt if he pitched competitively to his skill set and gave us the chance to win the game, we’d like to give him the ball another time. There’s no promises after that.”
Pittsburgh jumped out to a fast start and led the National League Central with an 11-5 record after beating the Miami Marlins on April 15. Since then, though, the Pirates have gone 6-11 since and come to Milwaukee fresh off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Nationals in Washington — their second four-game road sweep of the season.
“Baseball’s weird. We’re going to win some games, we’re going to get streaky,” Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams said. “It’s going to be nice getting out of D.C. and getting into Milwaukee and getting into our division.”
The Pirates only scored 10 runs during the course of the series.
“We didn’t get on base very often,” Hurdle said. “We only had a handful of times (when) we had two runners on base in the four games. And then when the opportunities presented themselves, we weren’t able to shoot that ball in the gap. We weren’t able to get that big swing.”