PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers' work week consists of three games against the Pirates at PNC Park followed by three games against the Cubs at home.If you are a Brewers fan, get used to it. You're going to be seeing those teams a lot.Beginning Tuesday night, nine of the next 13
PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers' work week consists of three games against the Pirates at PNC Park followed by three games against the Cubs at home.
If you are a Brewers fan, get used to it. You're going to be seeing those teams a lot.
Beginning Tuesday night, nine of the next 13 games on Milwaukee's schedule, and 30 of its remaining 72 games, are against the Pirates and Cubs. That stretch will include the Bucs' first visit to Miller Park this season, an odd scheduling quirk considering that the Brewers have already played all of their games against six non-divisional National League opponents in the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Phillies, Giants and Nationals.
"We definitely have a second half with a lot of Pirates and Cubs," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "Division games in general, there's less unknowns, obviously. There's familiarity. We faced John Lamb [on Saturday] for the third time this season. We're going to face a Pirates or Cubs pitcher three times in the second half.
"Really, to me, it becomes a game between the hitter and the pitcher. That familiarity changes things a little bit. It becomes more of a cat-and-mouse game, I think. Those are some good teams, and some teams that you know well. Certainly, challenging games."
Chase Anderson was originally listed to start Tuesday's series opener, but Junior Guerra will pitch that game instead, with Anderson going on Wednesday. The Brewers will get their first look Tuesday at Pittsburgh prospect Jameson Taillon, who is returning from a shoulder injury.
The second-half schedule was news to Anderson. Like many players, he rarely looks too far ahead.
"It's so cliché, but it's true," he said. "If you think too much about the big picture, the season drags on and you don't think about what you need to do that day."
Of facing the Bucs, he said, "That team, and the Cubs, they've got the kind of hitters that if you get in hitters' counts, they're going to make you pay for it. You have to really focus on getting ahead of guys and throwing Strike 1. That's what I haven't been doing of late."
Here's more on those matchups:
47-45, third in NL Central
2-1 vs. Brewers, with +7 run differential
Player to watch
The Brewers have caused problems for left-hander Tony Watson, who is otherwise one of baseball's most unheralded shutdown relievers. He owns a 5.14 ERA in 31 career appearances against Milwaukee, and while his 1.14 WHIP in those games is respectable, it represents his worst mark against any NL Central foe.
Season series highlight
There's something about the state of Pennsylvania that gets Ryan Braun's bat going. He has 23 career homers in 96 road games against the Phillies and Pirates, including his two-homer effort on Jackie Robinson Day this year. The first came off Jeff Locke, who is scheduled to start Wednesday.
55-36, first in NL Central
3-2 vs. Brewers, with +3 run differential
Player to watch
First baseman Anthony Rizzo has a .951 OPS and 10 home runs in 34 career games at Miller Park. He has more career RBIs in Milwaukee (30) than any other road city.
Season series highlight
Anderson carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and a no-hit bid into the eighth against the Cubs at Miller Park on May 17, losing his bid to match Juan Nieves' 1987 no-no when Ben Zobrist hit the first pitch of the eighth inning to center field for a single. The Brewers held on to win the game, 4-2. Anderson is lined up for a rematch at Miller Park on Sunday.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.