Last strikes: Pirates 6, Brewers 4

MILWAUKEE – Fourteen last strikes for the 14 losses on the season for the Milwaukee Brewers.

1. Once again, the Milwaukee Brewers failed to beat a team with a winning record. It’s been a struggle for the team so far this season, as they’ve capitalized on a schedule littered with lesser competition. Milwaukee entered the night with a 5-12 record against teams with winning records, mainly due to an abysmal 1-7 mark against the Chicago Cubs.

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2. After Friday night’s 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh they’re 5-13 against winning teams.

3. Luckily for Milwaukee, it is only early May, and the 14 wins they’ve racked up against teams below .500 count just the same. The bad news is that the month of May is just beginning, and it isn’t going to get any easier when Pittsburgh leaves town.

4. After trailing 5-1, the Brewers were able to fight back and make it a close game, they were just unable to come all the way back. Milwaukee had its opportunities. The Brewers left runners on base in both the seventh and eighth innings before the Pirates pushed their lead to 6-4 in the top of the ninth on a David Freese solo home run to right field.

5. In the ninth inning Jett Bandy led off with a pinch-hit single to center, which brought Lorenzo Cain to the plate as the tying run. Any threat was quickly erased when he grounded into a double play. Christian Yelich then struck out to end the game.

6. Junior Guerra lasted five innings allowing six hits and five earned runs and walking four. He was saddled with the loss. It was evident from the beginning that Guerra didn’t have his best stuff. He had command issues early on, issuing three of his four walks in the first. That included walking Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli with the bases loaded to give the Pirates the early lead.

7. The biggest blow to the cause for Milwaukee was in the fifth inning when Pirates outfielder Sterling Marte stepped to the plate. He connected with a fastball from Guerra and sent it 407 feet just to the left of center field where the all darts back on an angle. Cain tracked the ball all the way to the wall but was unable to get it.

8. While it missed clearing the fence by a couple of feet, it bounced all the way across the warning track to right center field before Cain could track it down. This allowed more than enough time for Marte to circle the bases on what became a two-run inside-the-park home run giving Pittsburgh a 5-1 lead.

9. On the bright side of things, outfielder Domingo Santana finally hit his first home run of the season in the sixth inning. He’s struggled at the plate this season, and was relieved after the game to finally get his first home run on the board after hitting 30 in 2017.

10. Games like this one happen and aren’t a cause for concern. Truthfully, the start against quality opponents isn’t a cause for concern, either. Sure, the 5-13 record against winning teams looks bad. Looking at it on the other side of things, the Brewers certainly have taken care of business with a 14-1 record against teams below the .500 mark. With the amount of randomness that takes place in baseball, that’s impressive.

11. With that being said, if the Brewers are going to survive the month of May, things are going to need to change for them in that regard. Milwaukee doesn’t have a game scheduled with a team currently below .500 until May 18 when they take on the Minnesota Twins. That three-game set is the only matchup with a losing team in the entire month of May.

12. The Brewers open up the month of June with a three-game series against the White Sox, and then don’t face another losing team until the end of June when they host Kansas City.

13. In other words, things are going to become rather difficult for Milwaukee if the Brewers cannot figure out how to beat winning teams.

14. The Brewers and Pirates are back in action on Saturday night for the second game of the three-game series. Jhoulys Chacin (2-1, 4.54 ERA) will start for Milwaukee and Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.83) is the probable start for the Pirates. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. CT. Talk to you then.

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