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Series Preview: Brewers (20-24) @ Pirates (21-23)

This 3-game set is the first meeting between the Brewers and Pirates, and the first time the Brewers have taken the field in last place in the NL Central, after having lost 5 games in a row, as well as 9 straight road games. While the Brewers were 10-6 against the Pirates last year, they are 75-82 against them since joining the NL, as well as 20-42 at PNC Park all time and 2-5 at PNC Park in ’07.

Pitching Probables:

Tuesday, 5/20, 6:05 p.m. CT: LHP Manny Parra (1-2, 5.03) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (2-4, 4.94)
Wednesday, 5/21, 6:05 p.m. CT: RHP Ben Sheets (4-1, 3.25) vs. RHP Ian Snell (2-2, 5.05)
Thursday, 5/22, 6:05 p.m. CT: RHP Jeff Suppan (2-3, 4.78) vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (3-4, 6.64)
Things to look for:
1. How will the team respond after outfielder Ryan Braun’s statement to the Journal-Sentinel and others: “I almost felt like this series, we didn’t expect to win,” and rumors that manager Ned Yost is on the hot seat?
2. Can the 2008 Brewers avoid the mind set that the team does not play well at PNC Park?
3. With two southpaws starting for the Bucs–and all three starters having ’08 ERA’s hoving at 5 or higher–will the mostly right-handed offense break out to give the Brewers’ starters an ample cushion early in the games?
4. Can Sheets bounce back from that awful inning in his last start?