It’s early, of course, but the Pirates and Brewers will play three games in Milwaukee this weekend with first place in the NL Central on the line. The Pirates’ 6-3 start includes a number of pretty fortunate wins (four of those six wins are against the Cubs and by one run, a fifth of the wins was by one run over the Cardinals; this is not a recipe for long-term success, though it’s also only nine games and not really indicative of much, either) whereas the Brewers 7-2 start mostly involves them winning by convincing scores. When the season started I had a hunch that the Brewers might be more compelling second-place competitor with the Pirates than the Reds in 2014. Obviously it’s still early, but they’re making a strong case for themselves thus far. At this point in the season, I’ll just tell you that games you can put into the “W” column now are ones that you don’t need to worry about down the road; that goes for the close, tough wins as much as the easy ones.
Everyone knows the story about the Pirates and Miller Park; they went 5-4 there last year after so much trouble in the past, and some of those early-season wins over the Brewers really felt cathartic and significant given the team’s struggles there in the past. The Pirates will send Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, and Charlie Morton to the mound this weekend. The Brewers will counter with Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo, and Kyle Lohse. I probably won’t be able to do much writing this weekend, though I’ll be back on a regular schedule by Monday night.