After a promising sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the Brewers responded with a mediocre showing against the Division Rival Pittsburgh Pirates. The Crew salvaged one win out of three chances against the Buccaneers of the Allegheny River.
In a back and forth game early, the Pirates had major highlights with home runs by Corey Dickerson and an Inside the Park Homer by Starling Marte to start a “Marte Party” in Miller Park. Domingo Santana went deep in the 6th inning to cut the Pirates lead down to 5-4. David Freese added some insurance with a home run in the 9th to put the game on ice, as the Pirates outlasted the Brewers 6-4. Junior Guerra pitched for the Crew, lasting 5.1 IP, allowing 6H and 4ER.
A Mariachi Band greeted fans on Cinco de Mayo and the Cerveceros started the scoring in the 4th with an RBI double by Hernan Perez to put the Crew up one. Christian Yelich added an RBI Single in the 7th, and after a wild pitch past Pirates Catcher Francisco Cervelli, the Cerveceros found themselves up 3-1. It was 3-3 in the 8th inning when Ryan Braun hit a huge double to left-centerfield to score two and eventually put the game in hand. Josh Hader shut down the Piratas lineup in the 9th, and Orlando Arcia flashed some fancy glovework to end the game. Chacin pitched well, going 6 IP, allowing 1 ER. The Brewers, at this point, were winners of four of five after dropping their previous four.
The late-inning heroics of the previous night did not carry over, as the Brewers were shut out for the seventh time this season. Adam Frazier, batting leadoff for the Pirates, took one deep off of Chase Anderson to start the scoring on the first at-bat of the game. The Pirates Slugfest continued with a Josh Mercer homer, his first since September of last year. The 6th inning was not kind to the Brewers, and the steady battering continued as the Pirates dominated 9-0 in front of 38,285. Chase Anderson pitched 5.1 IP, and allowed 5 ER, while Chad Kuhl threw extremely well, lasting 7 IP and allowing only one hit.
NL CENTRAL STANDINGS
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS – 19-12
MILWAUKEE BREWERS – 20-15 1 GB
PITTSBURGH PIRATES – 19-16 2 GB
CHICAGO CUBS – 16-14 2.5 GB
CINCINNATI REDS – 8-26 12.5 GB
The Pirates are 10-4 against Division opponents and have a solid rotation and lineup rolling that could lead them to contention later on in the season. It’s still early, but the Pirates look like a team the Brewers could struggle against come September. Another tricky predicament for the Crew is their sudden power outages. Today marks their seventh shutout of the season. That’s once every five games, and almost one every series. Maybe the Brewers packed their bags early in preparation for the trip to Cleveland, but the lineup we thought would be consistent electricity this year sure is shaky on some evenings. The Pitchers for the Brewers need to be admired for keeping the Brewers afloat for when the team can’t muster runs on a steady basis.
Tom Haudricourt pointed this out, but the Brewers have a troubling record disparity. The Brewers are 14-1 against cellar-dwelling teams (Cincinnati, San Diego, Kansas City, and Miami). Against teams we want to see in October (St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh), we are 6-14, and only averaging 2.5 Runs a game. It’s fine to be dominant against inferior teams, but it seems the Brewers can’t embrace the role that “we belong” just yet. Yes, as I type this article, it is May 7th. We won’t be pressed for wins until September, but it would be nice to get insurance before the Cubs get back on track and the Wild Card heats up and while our pitching staff is iron hot.