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Previewing Thursday's Pirates-Brewers game

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:12 p.m.
 

Pirates beat reporter Travis Sawchik'sinside 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.

The Buzz

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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