For years now, Brewers-Pirates games have hinged on the venue, and the next chapter will unfold Friday, when Jeff Locke pitches for the Bucs against Jimmy Nelson and the Crew at PNC Park on Jackie Robinson Day.
At PNC Park, the Pirates are 72-55 against the Brewers, the most wins against any visiting team since the park opened in 2001. But the rivalry has tilted in Milwaukee's favor, thanks mostly to what's happened at Miller Park. The Brewers have won the season series from the Pirates in each of the past two seasons and eight of the past nine, the lone exception coming in 2013, when Pittsburgh won 12 of 19 matchups between the teams.
Last year, even as the Brewers slipped into rebuilding mode and the Pirates surged to the second-best record in the National League, Milwaukee won 10 of 19 head-to-head games. But the Pirates have held their own when the teams meet in Pittsburgh, going 7-3 against Milwaukee at PNC Park last season.
• It's Jackie Robinson Day across baseball, so Brewers and Pirates players and coaches will don No. 42 on the anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier. Those jerseys will later be auctioned at MLB.com.
• Nelson has held opponents to a .178 batting average through two starts, and he's had some success in past matchups against the Pirates. He's 4-2 against Pittsburgh with a 2.48 ERA in six starts.
• Locke is 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 career starts against the Brewers, and he is the second of three consecutive left-handed opponents for Milwaukee. The Brewers were shut out on one hit by the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia on Thursday afternoon.