|Pirates hope to gain ground vs. Brewers|
The Pittsburgh Pirates, trying to regain a foothold in the National League Central, have settled into a four-man outfield rotation that may not be altogether comfortable.
It's hard to say from game to game which three will start. The three who began the season -- left fielder Corey Dickerson, center fielder Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco in right -- started Monday in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee, but it's possible one of them will be replaced in the second game of the series Tuesday at PNC Park with rookie Austin Meadows, who has been strong offensively and defensively since being recalled last month and has played in all three outfield spots.
A lot of the sentiment surrounding the Pirates seems to lean toward Polanco sitting more often than not. He is batting .214 and has had some lapses defensively and on the bases. But the Pirates are steadfast in playing him.
"I've had his back through all of this, because I believe he's a good ballplayer and I believed the swing was going to come back out," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We'll see. Time will tell. We can sit here and talk all day about what might happen. He's going to get the opportunity to go out and hit. It's going to happen or it's not going to happen. I believe it's going to happen."
Polanco has been better the past two games, going 3 for 4 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk, although he stranded two runners Monday.
"It's just a battle," he said. "You've got to fight every day. You've got to fight. You've got to work. No matter how I'm doing I'm going to keep working because I worked so hard in the offseason to get my body ready. Now in the season I don't want to stop working. I don't care I am doing; going to keep working every day."
A turnaround by Polanco concurrent with a Pittsburgh resurgence would certainly help. The Pirates (36-36) vied for the division lead early in the season before a month-long swoon. Monday's win moved them back to within six games of the first-place Brewers (42-30), who have lost three straight.
Milwaukee will recall right-hander Freddy Peralta (1-0, 3.72 ERA) from Triple-A Colorado Springs and give him his third career start Tuesday, against Pittsburgh righty Jameson Taillon (4-5, 3.94 ERA).
In his earlier recall, Peralta, 22, made his major league debut on Mother's Day, going 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Colorado, giving up one hit and setting a Brewers record for a debut with 13 strikeouts.
In his other start, he got a no-decision.
"It's still exciting," Peralta told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about his second recall. "I've been working hard, trying to get back here. You are fighting all the time to be where you want to be -- here."
Among his three most recent starts for Colorado Springs, Peralta took a no-hitter into the seventh and struck out 11 in six innings.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was clear that Peralta is not penciled in for anything beyond Tuesday's start, but allowed, "He has been on a really good roll. Every line score has looked really good. The evaluations have been really good. So he has earned it."
Milwaukee third baseman Travis Shaw's status is unclear. He did not play Monday because of a sore wrist he got Sunday.
Taillon, who is 1-3 with a 3.47 ERA in seven career starts against Milwaukee, has gone 2-5 with a 5.02 ERA over his past 11 starts. He last pitched on Wednesday when he allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings of a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.