|4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, September 20, 2017
PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Attendance: 15,741
Brewers throw Wilkerson into fire vs. Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates
- The Pirates have prospered when facing the Brewers in Pittsburgh this season, going 6-1. Runs have been scarce in those particular contests, as the Pirates have averaged 3.29 runs per game, while Milwaukee has mustered just 2.29.
- The Brewers matched a season high with 16 hits on Sunday, as they captured their third consecutive series and improved to 7-2 since September 8. Milwaukee is currently 2.5 games behind Colorado in the hunt for the second NL wild card slot.
- Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has been slumping badly, losing five in a row and 10 of its past 11 games. The Pirates entered August 12 at .500 (58-58), but are tied with Detroit for the worst record in baseball (10-24, .294) ever since.
- While Brent Suter's ERA is 5.11 against the NL Central this season, it's just 1.84 versus all other opponents. Suter has surrendered a .472 slugging percentage when facing the NL Central, but a mark of .297 otherwise.
- With five RBI over his last two games, Travis Shaw has raised his season total to 95 RBI. He needs five more to join Aramis Ramirez (105 in 2012) and Casey McGehee (104 in 2010) as the only Brewers third basemen to ever reach triple digits in a single season (based on primary position in season).
- Jameson Taillon has been outstanding in his seven wins this season, compiling a 1.13 ERA. But he's been dreadful in his six losses, posting a mark of 12.65. Taillon's ERA is 3.55 over nine no-decisions.
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PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Aaron Wilkerson will become the 13th pitcher to start a game for the Milwaukee Brewers this season when he opposed the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
He might be the least likely.
Wilkerson will be making his first major league start after his big-league debut came in relief last week. But he wasn't on many radars when it came to starting pitching options for the Brewers for much of the season, which he spent with Double-A Biloxi.
His numbers in Biloxi were fine, if not eye-catching. He posted an 11-4 record with a 3.14 ERA. He struck out 143 and walked 36 in 142 1/3 innings. However, at 28, he was significantly more experienced than his competition.
Not many players get called up from Double-A to the majors at the end of the season, but not many take the path Wilkerson took to get there, either.
Undrafted out of Cumberland University, Wilkerson spent a year and a half bouncing around independent leagues. By the time he signed with the Boston Red Sox's organization in 2014, he was already as older than many major league rookies.
"He's got a different path, for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Tuesday. "And one that tested, certainly, his love for the game. It could have been easy for him to kind of certainly go a different direction multiple times. But he's stuck to it, and he's a good pitcher. And that's why he's getting this shot."
Not to put any more pressure on Wilkerson than already exists, but it is not exactly a throw-away September game. The Brewers have one more shot to add on against the struggling Pirates, whom they shut out on back-to-back nights to start the three-game series, before facing the first-place Chicago Cubs in a division showdown this weekend.
Milwaukee, which trails the Colorado Rockies by one game for the second National League wild-card spot, is 3 1/2 behind Chicago in the NL Central.
"It's a big spot," Counsell said, "but we will feel like he has been pitching in a way that we think he can have success up here. So I am looking forward to it, and we will see where it gets us."
Across the diamond, the Pirates are trying something different, too.
After the rosters expanded in September, the Pirates called up left-hander Steven Brault and righty Tyler Glasnow from Triple-A Indianapolis. Brault and Glasnow were pitching in the rotation in the minors, and the Pirates wanted to see them perform in that role in the majors.
However, Pittsburgh already had five starters, and none seemed eager to yield any playing time. The Pirates skipped some starts and pushed some starts back to try make it work, but Wednesday, they are going to try something else.
Brault and Glasnow will both pitch, with Brault getting the start and Glasnow coming in midway through. Glasnow has pitched in relief before -- a few games at the end of the 2016 season -- but this will be something new to him and the Pirates. Even so, he is approaching it just like any other start.
"I'm just doing the same stuff," he said. "I'm not going to have a starter routine (before the game). I'll warm up in the 'pen. I obviously won't have all of my normal stretches and stuff, but it's the same game."
Brault (1-0, 4.38 ERA) has faced the Brewers four times in his career and is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Glasnow (2-7, 7.89) is 0-2 with an 8.00 ERA against Milwaukee in his career.
Updated September 20, 2017
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Published: 2015-05-28 13:51:00
Updated: 2016-07-13 10:41:59
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