Pittsburgh's Wandy Rodriguez will make his first start since April 19 on Thursday with the series win on the line between the Pirates and Brewers at Miller Park.
It has been nearly a year since Rodriguez last won a big league game (May 26, 2013), and if the home runs that have been cropping up against him continue, the winless streak will likely continue. In his 20 innings of work this season, Rodriguez has surrendered seven bombs.
Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list April 21 with right knee inflammation. In his two rehab starts at Double-A Altoona, he was tagged for 10 earned runs in two starts, surrendering 11 hits and six walks in 8 2/3 innings. Rodriguez has also struggled with the parent club thus far, posting a 7.65 ERA over four starts.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle seemed to indicate that there'd be no strict pitch count on Rodriguez, citing the 93 pitches he threw in his last rehab stint as an indicator that he could go deep into the game if he's on.
"The quality is what everyone is going to keep their eye on," Hurdle said.
Rodriguez's 10 wins in his career against Milwaukee are the most against any franchise, with a 4.18 ERA in his appearances. He most recently gave up four runs in four innings against the Brewers on April 19, his last start before landing on the disabled list. Several current Brewers, however, have strong OPS values against Rodriguez, particularly Ryan Braun (1.222 in 49 at-bats) and Jonathan Lucroy (1.062 in 21 at-bats).
Rodriguez's counterpart, Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo, struggled to pitch efficiently his last time out against the Yankees. He threw 114 pitches in just 5 2/3 innings and took a second straight loss.
Against the Pirates, Gallardo has had much success in his career, posting an 11-4 record to go along with a 2.63 ERA.
Pirates: Good results reported from Grilli's simulated game
Reliever Jason Grilli threw a simulated game Wednesday at Miller Park and came away with good results as he works his way back from the oblique strain that has kept him out since April 21.
"He had a good day," Hurdle said. "He threw two innings, 12 pitches and 12 pitches. He threw all his pitches and felt very good afterwards. I have yet to talk to Ray [Searage, pitching coach] and Neal [Huntington, general manager] to see what the next step would be, so I have no information to follow what we're going to do next, other than he had a very good day today."
Brewers: Gomez will miss Thursday's game as part of suspension
Center fielder Carlos Gomez, already out of Wednesday's starting lineup against the Pirates because of lower back tightness, has dropped his appeal of the three-game suspension he received for his part in a bench-clearing incident against Pittsburgh in April.
Gomez, who left Tuesday night's game after the fifth inning with the back problem, will begin serving his suspension immediately, the Brewers said before Wednesday's game.
Gomez also will miss Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Pirates and Friday afternoon's game at Chicago against the Cubs.
• The Brewers are 6-2 against left-handed starters this season.
• Andrew McCutchen has reached base safely in 10 of his last 11 games at Miller Park.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.