Game 126/127: Brewers (76-52) @ Pirates (59-66)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Those almighty Brewers are back in town, and this time the Pirates have two chances (in one day) to beat them. Good news is that Milwaukee has never swept the Pirates in a doubleheader. Bad news is that the Brewers have won 12 straight from the Pirates. That includes a recent three-game sweep in Milwaukee earlier this month.

The Pirates are 17-54 against the Brewers since the start of the 2007 season.

“They have been our Achilles’ Heel for years and it’s no different this year,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ve got a challenging opportunity right here. They’re hot, but this is life in the big leagues and the challenges that come with it. We’ve got to find a way to put a foot down, and we can start it today.”

Some news and notes in advance of 18 innings (and hopefully only 18 innings) tonight:

  • Hurdle has a potential bullpen disaster on his hands if Jeff Karstens is unable to go deep in Game 1. Jose Veras and Joel Hanrahan are out of the mix for both games. Both have pitched each of the last three days and have had a heavy workload going back a week now. Hurdle did not specify who would close in place of Hanrahan, though my guess is Chris Resop would be a top candidate. That is assuming, of course, that Resop isn’t needed in a leverage situation before the ninth.
  • With Veras and Hanrahan out, you have Resop, Daniel McCutchen, Tony Watson, Joe Beimel and Jason Grilli available. Grilli can pitch, but he’ll be limited since he threw 30 pitches yesterday.
  • The catch is that the Pirates have Chris Leroux here in Pittsburgh in case the Pirates need him in the bullpen for Game 2. There’s a good chance the roster move will be needed. Brad Lincoln is not all that stretched out, which means the Pirates have to have at least a few arms available to follow him. Hurdle hasn’t announced a set pitch limit for Lincoln, though it will probably be between 60-75.
  • If the Pirates do activate Leroux, they could send down Josh Harrison or Steve Pearce. While that would leave the Pirates a position player short, it would temporarily give the Pirates an extra bullpen arm.
  • Hurdle said there is only one reliever (who remained unnamed) that he would consider throwing in both games on Monday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf was in the clubhouse this afternoon, though he has not officially been recalled as of yet. Ohlendorf will start on Tuesday. I’d suspect the Pirates will option Lincoln to Triple-A after his start on Monday in order to open a spot for Ohlendorf.
  • Starter Paul Maholm traveled to have a second opinion on his shoulder done by Dr. James Andrews. Hurdle would not comment on what the exam results were, saying only that “there was [not] anything we did not expect to see or any surprises.” Maholm should be back in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Maholm then tweeted the following: “Good visit with dr Andrews looks like a strained muscle. Rest and let it heal. Should be good.”
  • Of the 17 pitches Evan Meek threw in a one-inning rehab appearance for high-A Bradenton on Sunday, 15 were fastballs. Most of them sat in the 88-91 mph range. He also threw two breaking pitches. Meek struck out one and allowed one hit in the outing.

Game 1 Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (RF), J. Harrison (2B), A. McCutchen (CF), R. Ludwick (LF), S. Pearce (1B), R. Cedeno (SS), B. Wood (3B), M. McKenry (C), J. Karstens (RHP)

BREWERS: N. Morgan (CF), J. Hairston (2B), R. Braun (LF), P. Fielder (1B), M. Kotsay (RF), R. Betancourt (SS), G. Kottaras (C), C. Counsell (3B), C. Narveson (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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