Pittsburgh and Milwaukee begin the weekend with the first of a three-game set at Miller Park on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. EST at Miller Park. National League Preview and Free Pick: Brewers vs Pirates.
Teams: (957) Pittsburgh Pirates (63-65) at (958) Milwaukee Brewers (71-58)
Date and Time: Friday, August 24 / 8:10 PM EST
Projected Starting Pitchers: Pirates Joe Musgrove (5-7, 3.31 ERA) opposes Brewers Wade Miley (2-2, 2.18)
Venue: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Line: Milwaukee -130, 8.5
TV Broadcasts: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
The Milwaukee Brewers’ currently own the second slot in the National League Wild Card race and square off against NL Central foe Pittsburgh having won three of their last four games. The Brewers have had little to no success against the Pirates this season. The Bucs have a 2-8 mark against Pittsburgh in 2018.
The key piece to the trade with Houston last season takes the Miller Park mound for the Pirates. The Astros sent Joe Musgrove to Pittsburgh this offseason for Gerritt Cole. The Bucs received four players in the deal which included Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz and Jason Martin for Cole.
Musgrove comes into this divisional affair having registered five consecutive quality starts. His last came in a win against Chicago this past Saturday. The first-year Pirate held the Cubs’ offense to one run while striking out seven across seven innings. Musgrove is the Pittsburgh’s pseudo ace of the rotation owning the staff’s best ERA (3.31) and WHIP (1.18). While the former Astros’ pitcher appears to be in top form having pitched at least seven innings in five of his last six outings all is not what it appears for the Bucs’ righty.
Musgrove has been average in nearly every underlying peripheral this season. And the best way to describe the right-handers season is unspectacular. The righty has a league average 6.98 K/9, and 2.25 BB/9 and his prime variable to success this season has come by limiting home runs (0.68 HR/9 and 7.3% HR/FB). His current ERA doesn’t matchup with his FIP (4.30) or his SIERA (4.35). His home run percentage this year has been suppressed by spacious PNC Park.
Brewers Friday night starting pitcher Wade Miley has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts with the Crew. His success should be considered nothing short of magical, smoke and mirrors, if you will.
Miley allowed four runs in his last outing, albeit just one earned run, while striking out seven across five innings this past Saturday at Busch Stadium in St Louis. He took the mound in downtown St Louis with a 2.23 ERA over 40.1 innings. The bottom line skill set of Miley isn’t comparable to his earned run average. Miley doesn’t miss enough bats nor does he pitch to soft contact. The southpaw enters Friday night’s contest against the Bucs with a ridiculously high 45-plus percent hard contact rate.
In addition to his career worst hard hit percentage is his unsustainable .244 BABIP (.312 career average). All things being equal not pitcher in the bigs with 50-plus innings has been hit harder than Miley. The lefties home run percentage per nine innings is nearly a percent below his career average. Expecting regression to the mean for Miley the rest of the 2018 campaign is not only reasonable it is a given.
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