Brewers ready to start run for the playoffsWisconsin Sports
-- With just over two weeks left in the season, the Milwaukee Brewers are one of six teams that still have a legitimate chance of winning the National League’s final Wild Card spot.
PITTSBURGH - With just over two weeks left in the season, the Milwaukee Brewers are one of six teams that still have a legitimate chance of winning the National League’s final Wild Card spot.
Saint Louis holds that spot by one game over Los Angeles, and two-and-a-half over the Brewers and Pittsburgh. Philadelphia is now three-and-a-half back, after beating the Mets in New York 3-1 last night. And Arizona is just four-and-a-half back. The Pirates moved into a third-place tie with Milwaukee by shutting out the Cubs in Chicago 3-0.
The Brewers had their final off-day of the regular season yesterday. But the Crew has a chance to drive Pittsburgh down the leaderboard when it plays the Pirates tonight at PNC Park. It’s the opening of a 10-game road trip for the Brewers, which also includes series against division leaders Washington and Cincinnati. The Reds have opened up an 11-game lead in the National League Central – and they’re expected to clinch the division title before the Brewers get to Cincy next Tuesday. Ryan Braun says his Brewers have done everything well over the last month, as they went 20-6 to get back into the Wild Card race. And if they continue to play well in the next two weeks, Braun said quote, “I like our chances.” Both the Brewers and Pirates are two games above .500 going into their three-game series this week. And both teams will start their aces tonight – right-hander Yovani Gallardo for Milwaukee, and righty A.J. Burnett for the Pirates.
Yovani Gallardo has moved ahead of Marco Estrada in the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation. The right-handed Gallardo will start tomorrow night at Pittsburgh. And manager Ron Roenicke says it will give him one more start at the end of the regular season, in case the Crew needs to win the final game in order to make the playoffs. Gallardo has won his last seven decisions. Roenicke says he’s been Milwaukee’s most consistent pitcher. And with the Brewers just two-and-a-half games out of Wild Card contention, the manager says it only makes sense to have Gallardo throwing as often as possible. Also, Roenicke says right-handers Shaun Marcum and Mike Fiers will stay in the Brewers’ rotation. There are signs that the rookie Fiers is wearing down, with an ERA of just over six this month. It had been as low as 1.01 in July. Roenicke says most of Fiers’ problems come at the start of a game – which tells him that the issue is not fatigue. The skipper notes that Fiers is not getting hit in the later innings. Meanwhile, Marcum has struggled since returning from a two-month absence with a bad elbow. He’s 0-1 in five starts since then, with a five-point-seven-oh ERA. Roenicke says Marcum appears to be healthy – but he not been as sharp as expected. He only went four innings in Friday night’s loss to the Mets – but Roenicke said he believed that Marcum’s velocity had improved.