Previewing Thursday's Pirates-Brewers game
Pirates beat reporter Travis Sawchik's inside look at Thursday's game:
• Wandy Rodriguez makes his first start since going on the DL with right knee inflammation. After struggling earlier this year at the major league level with decreased velocity, Rodriguez also struggled in his rehab outings posting a 10.38 ERA in two Triple-A starts. Rodriguez has posted a 8.02 ERA over his last three seasons at Miller Park. Ryan Braun has a .367 average and four homers in 49 at-bats vs. Rodriguez.
• Yovani Gallardo has reinvented himself as a pitcher. His strikeouts and velocity are down but his groundball rate is up. Andrew McCutchen has a .326 average and three home runs against Gallardo in his career, one of few Pirates with success against the right-hander.
After severe slugging struggles to begin the season, Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer has four extra-base hits in his last four games.
“The confidence is at a season high,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He is barreling balls he might have been fouling off earlier.”
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