Pirates-Brewers Preview

MILWAUKEE -- After taking three of four from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Milwaukee Brewers will look to keep their momentum going Friday when they open a three-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.

The Brewers' home park has been a house of horrors for the Pirates, who have dropped 61 of 78 games there since 2007. The Brewers have had their way with Pittsburgh in general, posting a 100-56 mark against the Pirates during that same stretch -- the second-highest winning percentage by one team over a divisional foe during that span.

It'll be up to Junior Guerra to keep it going. The 31-year-old rookie will take the mound Friday for his 16th start of the season but in search of his first victory since July 4.

Guerra pitched well in his three starts since, holding opponents to five runs with 13 strikeouts in 18 innings of work, but the Brewers have managed just eight runs in those contests.

He held the Cubs to just one unearned run over 6 1/3 innings in his last start, dropping his season ERA to 2.85.

"I thought he was great," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He did more of the same from him. I thought kind of early in the game he got some three-ball counts on some guys and some deeper counts on some guys. But he still really recovered from them. The four walks today was a little high for him. Maybe his stuff wasn't quite as crisp as it's been in the past, and still, he did everything he possibly needed to do to have a good game."

Guerra faced the Pirates twice in his brief career, including his only start against them on July 18, when he took no decision after allowing two runs on three hits and struck out six over six innings.

Pittsburgh will hand the ball to rookie left-hander Steven Brault, who will return to the Pirates after a brief return to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he turned in back-to-back scoreless six-inning outings.

Brault made his major league debut on July 5, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on four hits with five strikeouts and a pair of walks over four innings of work. A Gregory Polanco error smeared his line score a bit and likely made his debut outing a little bit shorter than planned.

"I was less nervous at first than I thought. When I got into trouble, then it hit me a little bit, but overall I reacted well," Brault said after the game. "I tried to keep doing what I've been doing. With all the guys around me, it's easy to feel comfortable on the mound and let my defense do the work. I tried to be myself and had a lot of fun."

After the game, he was optioned back to Indianapolis, where he had gone 2-3 with a 2.31 ERA in nine starts to open the season.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.