Pregame: Mental block?

Sausages win at Miller Park. Why can't the Pirates?
Sausages win at Miller Park. Why can't the Pirates?

MILWAUKEE — The Pirates have lost 11 straight games at Miller Park and 35 of their past 38 games here, going back to 2007. They are winless this season against the Brewers, regardless of the venue.

“We’re seven games in and we’re 0-7,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I also was on a team in Colorado that was challenged playing in this ballpark. I do think at time you can go to a mental side that is not productive. I’ve been on teams in situations where people really need a quick surge, they need huge, tangible evidence that something’s going to happen to reverse (a slump) instead of just staying the course, meeting the demands of the game, playing through the adversity and scoring one more run than the other team. Maybe there’s a little bit of that in play here now, with some of the guys who’ve been here a while. I can sense some of the collateral damage (but) I don’t feel it to the point where the first thing they’re thinking is, ‘Oh, God, how are we going to lose today?’ I thought there was a huge sense that we were going to tie that game last night in the ninth inning.”

»»» Charlie Morton began this season owning 11 major league victories. He goes into today’s game win nine wins this season. Kevin Correia already has a dozen victories and Jeff Karstens will go for No. 10 on Tuesday against the Cardinals. The Pirates have not had three 10-game winners since 2003.

»»» Right-hander Tim Alderson will make his first start today for Double-A Altoona. In 38 relief outings this year, Alderson went 0-3 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Due to issues with his control and velocity, Alderson’s prospect status eroded to almost nothing over the past two years.

Lineups for today’s game:

Pirates (56-62) – 1. Xavier Paul rf, 2. Garrett Jones 1b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Ryan Ludwick lf, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Charlie Morton rhp (9-6, 3.56)

Brewers (69-51) – 1. Felipe Lopez 3b, 2. Nyjer Morgan cf, 3. Ryan Bruan lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Mark Kotsay rf, 6. Yuniesky Betancourt ss, 7. Craig Counsell 2b, 8. Matt Lucroy c, 9. Shaun Marcum rhp (10-3, 3.62)