Thu Jun 10 7:14pm ET
Having players out doesn't seem to be a stumbling block for the Milwaukee Brewers, who have won 11 of their past 13 games going into a weekend home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates that opens Friday.
The Brewers, who are coming off a 7-2 win Thursday at Cincinnati and are opening a six-game homestand, have moved into a tie with the Chicago Cubs atop the National League Central.
That is despite having practically a game lineup's worth of players on the IL: outfielder Lorenzo Cain (right hamstring), right-hander Dylan File (right elbow), outfielder Derek Fisher (left hamstring), infielder/outfielder Mark Mathias (right shoulder), left-hander Angel Perdomo (lower back), 3B/1B Travis Shaw (left shoulder), right-hander Justin Topa (right elbow) and second baseman Kolten Wong (left oblique).
Shaw got hurt Wednesday diving for a ball.
"In the long term, it probably means Luis Urias is going to play more third base when Kolten comes back," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "(Urias) is doing a really nice job and he's swinging the bat really well. Another player is going to step up and get an opportunity. When you have injuries, that's how it works. You have to fill in around him, and that's going to be our job."
In the meantime, winning helps.
"We're having fun as a team," Jace Peterson told Bally Sports Wisconsin.
Pittsburgh had a feel-good series last weekend, winning three of four against a reeling Miami Marlins team.
Then things got tougher, and the competition could continue to be a challenge.
After being swept in a three-game series against the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers at home, including a rain-shortened 6-3 game Thursday, the Pirates, last in the NL Central, head on the road having lost four in a row overall.
They did get a bit of good news concerning first baseman Colin Moran, who left Wednesday's game after getting hit with a pitch on the top of his right hand and sat out Thursday.
Manager Derek Shelton said X-rays showed no break and that Moran is day to day.
"It's a pain tolerance thing," he said.
In the series opener, Pittsburgh right-hander Chase De Jong (0-0, 5.40 ERA) is slated to start opposite Milwaukee right-hander Brandon Woodruff (4-2, 1.42 ERA).
The Brewers are 9-3 in games when Woodruff starts. His last outing, Saturday against Arizona, he didn't get a decision, but Milwaukee won 7-5.
He gave up two runs and six hits in five innings, with one walk and nine strikeouts -- good numbers, but they left Woodruff wanting more.
"I wish every outing could be a quality start," he said. "That's the goal."
Woodruff has 87 strikeouts in 72 innings and a 1.13 ERA over his past 11 starts.
Woodruff, who is facing Pittsburgh for the first time this season, is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA in nine career games, seven of them starts, against the Pirates.
De Jong, who has never faced the Brewers, will be making his third start of the season. His last time out, he did not get a decision when Pittsburgh came back for a 12-inning win Sunday against Miami after he gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts.
--Field Level Media