Brewers start long stretch vs. NL Central

( – The Milwaukee Brewers begin a stretch that will see them
play 22 straight games against the National League Central on Friday when they
welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to Miller Park.

The Brewers won’t see a non-Central team until May 4, when the Dodgers come to

“I think all games are important,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
“Certainly, our division we know we’re going to play more often. You’d like to
ideally win more games. But you also realize that it is a tough division, and
if you can just hang in there in our division and be great against everybody
else, you’re doing to do OK. So yeah, it’s important. But more important? I
don’t know about that.”

Milwaukee had its hands full with a team in the NL West earlier this week, as
it was rocked by the Colorado Rockies in a three-game sweep to open the
season. The Brewers lost in extra innings on Wednesday, falling 5-4 to the

Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez each provided RBI singles during the ninth and
Adam Lind went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and two walks for the Brewers, who
had tied the game with a pair of runs in the ninth before Wilin Rosario sent a
Francisco Rodriguez offering over the right-center field wall for the deciding

“They don’t miss anything,” Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta said of the
Rockies. “They’ve been really hot.”

Getting the call for the Brewers on Friday will be righty Mike Fiers, who was
6-5 last season with a 2.13 ERA in 14 games (10 starts). Fiers has faced the
Pirates seven times (five starts) and is 2-3 against them with a 5.60 ERA.

Pittsburgh also ran into some trouble this week, as it was swept by the
Cincinnati Reds, including a disappointing 3-2 loss in Thursday’s rubber

Right fielder Gregory Polanco’s error led to the winning run in the ninth for
the Reds.

The Pirates are 0-3 for the first time since opening the 2003 campaign with
six straight losses.

Hoping to reverse that trend on Friday will be lefty Jeff Locke, who went 7-6
with a 3.91 ERA and 89:40 K:BB ratio in 131 1/3 innings in 2014.

Locke wasn’t particularly sharp this spring either, pitching to a 6.27 ERA in
18 2/3 innings.

The 27-year-old hurler, though, has held his own against Milwaukee, going 2-2
with a 3.98 ERA in seven starts. He’s limited the Brewers to a modest .229
average in those games.

Milwaukee was 12-7 versus the Pirates last season, despite being outscored by
the Bucs, 81-66.