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Series Preview: Indians vs. Brewers

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Now’s the Indians’ chance to stretch their AL Central lead

Pittsburgh Pirates v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After a successful 4-2 road trip down south, the Indians return home with a 0.5-game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central. They kick off a six-game home stand tonight against a struggling Brewers team then face the Royals next week.

The 2020 season is not going how the Brewers had hoped. Josh Hader remains a savant out of the bullpen, but their former MVP, Christian Yelich, is merely very good with a 117 wRC+, .205/.340/.484 slash and nine homers. Bad BABIP has played a part in his struggles this season, though — there’s a good chance he’ll rebound with a hard-hit rate among the best in baseball.

Yelich will probably return to form, but the rest of the offense has a long ways to go to make the Brewers a real contender in this shortened campaign. They currently ranked 27th in team wRC+ (83), and they have struck out more than any team not named the Tigers.

Pitching wise they are one of the highest strikeout staffs in baseball and they have the best collective bullpen SIERA in MLB at 3.43.

Team in a box

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record 18-39
Record 18-39
Runs Scored 202
Runs Allowed 286
Run Differential -84
Last 10 4-6
AVG .218
OBP .282
SLG .349
OPS .631
wRC+ 71
ERA 4.71
SIERA 4.48
K-BB% 13.2%

Projected starters

Friday, Sept. 4, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Corbin Burnes vs. Carlos Carrasco
Corbin Burnes started the season in long relief for the Brewers, pitching 5.1 innings out of the pen Aug. 3 and another 3.2 innings a week later against the Cubs, before being shifted to the rotation for three starts. Since Aug. 18 he’s pitched 16.1 innings, struck out 22 and allowed four earned runs off seven hits.

Saturday, Sept. 5, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Brandon Woodruff vs. Aaron Civale
The Brewers’ Opening Day starter, Brandon Woodruff has a 3.67 ERA over his eight starts and he has struck out over 10 batters per nine innings. He has just one shutout this season — 6.1 innings against the Pirates — which was also his only double-digit strikeout game. He’s relied on his sinker more than ever this season and the result is a 48.6% ground ball rate.

Sunday, Sept. 6, 1:10 p.m. ET: LHP Brett Anderson vs. Shane Bieber
Brett Anderson is a veteran soft-tossing lefty who throws a lot of changeups, so if you’re a fan of offense this may be a game to skip. Not only is Anderson likely to changeup his way to shutting down the Indians, Shane Bieber is also on the mound. This looks like a 1-0 game one way or another.

Lineup highlight

Keston Hiura, 2B - Twenty-four-year-old Keston Hiura had a great rookie campaign, but so far has been average in his sophomore season. He’s walked a bit less and struck out a bit more, but the biggest drop off has been power with a slugging percentage .134 lower than it was last season.

Brewers roster

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Brewers?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    3
    (47 votes)
  • 55%
    2
    (97 votes)
  • 12%
    1
    (21 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (9 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now