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08/25/10 11:17 PM ET

Pirates looking to solve road woes vs. Brewers

Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson is entering new territory. The Pirates are looking to play better baseball in the territory away from their home park.

When the Brewers and Pirates hook up in the opener of a three-game set Friday night at Miller Park, both clubs will be working on rising above specific late-season challenges.

Narveson logged 120 1/3 innings entering last Saturday's start against the Padres and is poised to surpass the 122 1/3 innings he pitched in 2009 between the Brewers and Triple-A Nashville. He worked 136 innings for Nashville in '08. His career high is 148 1/3 set in '04.

The Brewers don't like to let pitchers exceed a 20 percent jump in innings from the previous season. If they stuck to that policy in Narveson's case, his threshold would be in the neighborhood of 145-150 innings. But his relative experience -- he's pitched 11 professional seasons -- could allow the team to push him higher.

The Pirates, meanwhile, are a Major League worst 13-48 away from PNC Park this year and have lost 10 consecutive away from their home park entering this road trip. The Pirates lost 17 straight road games earlier this year.

"Unfamiliar atmosphere," Pirates manager John Russell said when asked why he thinks his young team has struggled on the road. "The crowd isn't behind you, it's against you. As they gain more experience and see the parks more often, they're going to know what to expect.

"It's something we have to fight through. ... This will be a good test for them. They've made a lot of progress. Going to Milwaukee, that's a tough place to play. We haven't played well there the last couple of years. It will be a good test for them to go in there."

Pirates: McDonald looking to rebound
Friday starter James McDonald didn't get any breaks in his last outing, in which wet conditions led to a five-inning start in a game that only lasted six and he lost to the Mets. "I didn't have my good command," he said, "but I could still have made better pitches at certain points to keep my team in the game." ... The Pirates on Wednesday announced the signing of 16-year-old shortstop Dilson Herrera from Cartagena, Colombia.

Brewers: McGehee's knee no problem
Casey McGehee's knee is holding up just fine, thank you. McGehee entered the season with uncertainty about his right knee, which was surgically repaired last year. Despite going without an RBI on Thursday, he leads the Major Leagues with 26 runs knocked in during August, six shy of the club record, which was set by Gorman Thomas in 1979 and matched by Cecil Cooper the following year.

"I think he's been great," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "I was more concerned about him, physically, than probably any other guy on the team. Early in the year, watching him move around down there, I was nervous. I think he's held up well. Whatever procedure he had done, he probably chose the right one."

McGehee underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up loose bodies in his knee in October. He decided against a more invasive procedure that would have required more recovery time. So far, he's hitting .287 with 20 home runs and 84 RBIs.

Worth noting
Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen enjoys hitting against Narveson. He's 4-for-7 against the southpaw with a home run. Another player to watch is Lastings Milledge, who's 2-for-4 against Narveson with two doubles, an RBI and two walks. ... Only two Brewers own hits off McDonald. Ryan Braun is 2-for-3 against him with a double, and Craig Counsell is 1-for-2 against McDonald.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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