The Milwaukee Brewers go for a fifth straight win when they take on the host Pittsburgh Pirates in the first of a three-game weekend series between National League Central rivals on Friday night. The series opener is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Brewers are coming off a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, including a 17-4 win on Thursday. Milwaukee is 70-46 and in first place in the NL Central, leading the second-place Cincinnati Reds by eight games and the third-place St. Louis Cardinals by 11 games.
Pittsburgh was on the wrong end of a three-game sweep against the Cardinals and has dropped eight straight. The Pirates are 41-74 and in last place in the NL Central , sitting 10 games behind the fourth-place Cubs.
The MLB odds for this contest have the Brewers with a moneyline of -200, while the Pirates are listed at +170. The over/under for the series opener is set at nine runs.
The Brewers haven’t always been the most potent of offenses, but in the last two games against the Cubs, they put up 27 runs, including 17 in the series finale. Leading the way on Thursday was third baseman Luis Urias, who tied a major league record with five extra-base hits in the rout.
“The best game of my life, hitting-wise,” Urías said after Thursday’s win. “It was fun. It was one of those days that I felt good. I think everybody was feeling good today.”
Urias had two home runs and three doubles in the game, driving in five runs and scoring five times. The 24-year-old is batting .249 with 22 doubles, a triple, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs and 58 runs scored.
Catcher Manny Pina had a big day as well, going 3-for-6 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs. He hit a grand slam and a two-run home run, giving him nine. In 53 games, he has two doubles, 24 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
Left-hander Brett Anderson will get the start for Milwaukee, bringing a 4-5 record and 3.54 ERA. Anderson has 44 strikeouts and 19 walks in 73.2 innings over 17 starts.
Anderson has faced Pittsburgh twice, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 13 innings. He beat the Pirates with six scoreless innings of three-hit ball on July 27. Anderson took a no-decision in his last outing, going five innings against San Francisco on Sunday and allowing one run on five hits, including a home run, while striking out three and walking none.
The Pirates came close to snapping their losing streak on Thursday, falling 7-6 to the Cardinals. Bryan Reynolds made it a one-run game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, but the next two batters struck out to end Pittsburgh’s threat.
Reynolds has been the offensive bright spot for the Pirates, coming off the bench on Thursday to go 2-for-2. He’s batting .306 to rank 10th in the majors, and he leads Pittsburgh with 20 home runs and 67 RBIs.
Catcher Jacob Stallings has some power, hitting 16 doubles and eight home runs while driving in 42 runs in 85 games. But he’s playing part time and hitting .235, including 2-for-14 over his last five appearances.
Right-hander Mitch Keller will get the ball for the series opener. Keller is 3-9 with a 7.06 ERA, striking out 57 and walking 33 over 57.1 innings.
Keller has lost his last three starts, including going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in August. He faced Cincinnati on Saturday and took the loss after going five innings and allowing four runs on seven hits, including a home run, while striking out four and walking four.
Milwaukee has won 12 of the 16 meetings, with this weekend wrapping up the season series. The Brewers have won six of the seven games played in Pittsburgh.
A starter for Saturday’s game has yet to be named by Milwaukee, which will have Freddy Peralta (9-3, 2.26 ERA) on the mound for Sunday’s contest. Pittsburgh has Bryse Wilson (2-5, 4.43) named as its starter for the second game with Steven Brault (0-1, 3.00) set to pitch the finale.
The MLB series prices for this three-game set have the Brewers at -280, while the Pirates are listed at +210.
Brewers Keep Rolling
Milwaukee just has too much offense against Keller, who has struggled to keep teams off the scoreboard. The Brewers are rolling and will keep that going against the struggling Pirates.
When making your MLB betting picks, take Milwaukee to win on the road.
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers -200