Freddy Peralta was the NL Pitcher of the Month in August, bouncing back from a rough first half and regaining his swing-and-miss stuff. Can he keep the momentum going against the Pirates? The Brewers are trying to stave off the Cubs atop the NL Central with the season winding down. Milwaukee is a road favorite at -185 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Wednesday’s matchup and break down why Peralta is poised to lead Milwaukee to another win.
Brewers vs. Pirates Prediction
It’s tough to bet against Freddy Peralta right now, figuratively and literally. A pitcher who thrives on striking hitters out, he flipped a switch midseason and has turned right back into the pitcher he was for the Brewers over the last couple of seasons. Facing a Pirates team that strikes out more than most and likely won’t have Andrew McCutchen, Peralta should be in line to cruise even if an occasional home run gives Pittsburgh some life.
The Brewers didn’t have to use any of their high-leverage relievers on Tuesday night, so Milwaukee is set up well to go from Peralta to the core members of their terrific bullpen.
The Pirates opted against starting Mitch Keller on normal rest, instead going with a bullpen game led by Colin Selby. Selby has opened two games this season, pitching well both times, but the Pirates wound up allowing 10 runs in one of those games.
While Pittsburgh has a pretty solid bullpen, there is too much volatility beyond the late-inning arms to trust the unit on a day when the Pirates don’t seem likely to score many runs. A comfortable Milwaukee win is likely enough to take Brewers -1.5 at -115.
Brewers vs. Pirates Prediction: Brewers -1.5 (-115)
Brewers vs. Pirates Odds
The Brewers are decisive road favorites at -185 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8.5 runs.
With Keller not starting the Pirates, there was no doubt the Brewers would be pretty clear favorites. That removed value from the moneyline but made a comfortable Milwaukee win more likely.
Brewers vs. Pirates Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Brewers vs. Pirates.
Pirates Lineup vs. Freddy Peralta’s Strikeouts
The Pirates average 8.81 strikeouts per game, a below-average mark that sits 21st in the league. Right now, any lineup might struggle to make contact against Peralta.
The Brewers right-hander has had two completely different seasons, struggling to find his swing-and-miss stuff early in the year and looking nearly untouchable more recently. He’s averaging 13.6 K/9 in the second half and has posted double-digit strikeouts in five of his last 10 starts.
With the Pirates striking out more than most teams (Jack Suwinski strikes out 33.4% of the time), Peralta could be able to cruise. He’s had some issues giving up the home run, which is worth watching against a Pirates lineup that hit 31 of them in August.
Brewers Lineup vs. Pirates Bullpen
The Brewers have been so successful partly because they hold a bullpen advantage over most teams, but the Pirates have started to win some games themselves because their own ‘pen is holding its own. The raw numbers don’t look too strong on the surface, but Pittsburgh’s bullpen is leading baseball in WAR since the start of August. David Bednar and Colin Holderman are among the pieces Derek Shelton has at his disposal, and both will be rested entering Wednesday.
The Brewers see their AVG dip to .220 and OPS dip to .656 in innings 7-9, so it will be key for Milwaukee to strike early or take advantage of the Pirates’ bullpen in the middle innings. A battle of the bullpens, if Peralta doesn’t have his best stuff or if this is a low-scoring game, may not benefit Milwaukee as much as it seems on the surface.
Brewers vs. Pirates Starting Lineups
Brewers Starting Lineup
LF Christian Yelich L
C William Contreras R
1B Carlos Santana S
DH Mark Canha R
SS Willy Adames R
CF Sal Frelick L
2B Brice Turang L
RF Tyrone Taylor R
3B Andruw Monasterio R
Pirates Starting Lineup
3B Ke’Bryan Hayes R
LF Bryan Reynolds S
DH Andrew McCutchen R
CF Jack Suwinski L
1B Connor Joe R
C Endy Rodriguez S
SS Liover Peguero R
RF Joshua Palacios L
2B Ji Hwan Bae L