Pirates looking for series split with Brewers

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The Pittsburgh Pirates will be going for a split of their four-game series in Milwaukee when the teams meet Monday at Miller Park.

The Brewers, meanwhile, will be going for a series win and a season split. They are 4-5 against the Pirates going into the teams’ final meeting of this shortened season.

Milwaukee won games Friday and Saturday before the Pirates won Sunday.

The combined home run count through the first three games of the series is up to 11. Pittsburgh got long balls from Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco in a 5-1 win Sunday.

It gave Bell two homers in as many days, one right-handed and one left-handed. That doubled his total to four. He’s batting .218 after hitting .277 with 37 homers last year.

“I think the timing’s better,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Bell. “I think he’s being more consistent in his movement. As (people) saw last year, this guy can hit. He got off to a slow start, but I think we’re starting to see signs of him coming around.”

The Pirates will be without left fielder Bryan Reynolds (paternity list) for a second straight day.

There’s no telling what other, if any changes, might happen for either team before the series finale. Monday is the trade deadline.

Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Williams (1-5, 5.34 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday.

Milwaukee has not named a starter.

“We’re going to have a conversation and figure it out,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’ll have to make some moves.”

Speculation is that it could be left-hander Eric Lauer, who would need to be recalled. Lauer (0-2, 12.54 ERA) as of Sunday was scheduled to pitch four innings Monday at the team’s alternate training sight.

He was optioned there Aug. 13 after struggling for two straight starts.

“We need him to pitch better,” Counsell said when Lauer was sent down. “That’s No. 1. I think he’s capable of pitching better — and look, we want him to be here pitching for us in our rotation. That’s what we would like to have happen.”

Williams’ name has made the rounds at times as a potential player to be traded, although his performance might have blunted any talks.

Williams insists he is purposely remaining oblivious to trade talk.

“I think we don’t see it as much,” he said. “Guys are doing a good job of staying off their phones as much as they can. We’re not going to be in the dark. If someone gets traded, they’ll let us know. It’s one of those (situations) where we can’t be worried about something that is out of our control.”

Williams is coming off a loss Tuesday against the White Sox in which he gave up eight runs and nine hits in six innings.

He is 3-3 with a 2.74 ERA in eight games, seven of them starts, against Milwaukee. That includes going 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA in four career games, three of them starts, at Miller Park.

–Field Level Media

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