Nothing has come easily this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who at the rate they are going could end up challenging for the cellar in the National League -- and that seems to be magnified during a stretch of change.
Certainly, the Pirates are not handling change as well as their current opponent, the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee smacked Pittsburgh 9-0 Tuesday in the series opener.
The Pirates have lost six of eight and have dropped seven of their past eight against Milwaukee. The Brewers, who lead the NL Central, have won three of four.
Both teams are in some roster flux, particularly the Pirates.
Tuesday's game was Pittsburgh's first since All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier and reliever Clay Holmes were dealt in separate trades.
Then, in the hours leading up to Tuesday's game, projected starter Tyler Anderson was scratched because of a reported trade to Philadelphia. The trade got held up, apparently because of an issue with one of the prospects coming back from the Phillies. So, in an odd scene, Anderson threw in the bullpen pregame and spent the game in the dugout.
Anderson was traded to the Seattle Mariners instead late Tuesday night, with Pittsburgh getting minor league catcher Carter Bins and pitcher Joaquin Tejada in return.
That might not be the end of the rebuilding Pirates' moves leading up to the Friday trade deadline.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, got outfielder Lorenzo Cain (2-for-5 with an RBI) back from the IL Tuesday, and right-handed pitcher Devin Williams also was reinstated, but the Brewers are playing without star outfielder Christian Yelich, who went on COVID-19 IL on Tuesday.
Despite being vaccinated, Yelich reported mild symptoms and was quarantined after testing positive -- considered a breakthrough case of the virus. Infielder Jace Peterson also was put into COVID-19 protocol because of contact tracing.
Yelich is out at least 10 days, Peterson at least a week.
"I really do commend (Yelich) for reporting symptoms," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That's what minimized things in this situation. I think that's important to note."
In other words, the way things were handled ensured that no games would be postponed.
The Brewers delayed their flight to Pittsburgh from Monday evening to Tuesday morning, but no one else from the club tested positive, according to team president of baseball operations David Stearns.
"Clearly disappointing news for Christian," Stearns said. "The most important thing is for him to feel better. ... He's in good spirits. He's resting. It's certainly our hope that he can knock this out quickly."
The Pirates' starter for Wednesday has not been announced. "I'm still waiting on that," Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said.
One possibility seems to be rookie right-hander Max Kranick (1-1, 5.73 ERA). Another would be a bullpen game -- something that didn't work out too well Tuesday, as Luis Oviedo gave up eight runs in one-plus innings in his first major league start.
Right-hander Adrian Houser (6-5, 3.88) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee.
Houser came out of the bullpen Friday and got the win against the Chicago White Sox with two scoreless, two-hit innings, with one walk and two strikeouts.
He is 2-3 with a 4.78 ERA in nine career games, six of them starts, against Pittsburgh, including 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts this season.
--Field Level Media