Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Marcum) vs Cardinals (Jackson)

It feels like we've been waiting for this game for a week.

After discussing, disbelieving, decrying and dreading it for several days, the hour has arrived for Shaun Marcum (3.54 ERA, 3.73 FIP in 2011, 12.46 ERA, 6.49 FIP postseason) to make his second start of the NLCS. As the numbers would suggest, Marcum is having a remarkably poor postseason. In Game 2 on Monday he allowed five runs on seven hits over four innings, walking one and striking out one in a 12-3 Brewer loss.

We've talked a lot recently about Marcum's stuff: If you missed it, go see Jordan's post from earlier this week. Really, though, two numbers sum up his problem:

  • On Monday he threw his changeup, easily his best pitch and one of the best of its kind in baseball, just eleven times in 72 pitches. (Roughly 15%). He threw his fastball and/or cutter, both of which sit in the mid-80's and feature nearly no movement, 52 times.
  • Marcum faced 19 batters on Monday, and got just three swinging strikes.

If he fails to use his changeup and fool batters again tonight, he's probably in for another short outing.

Including this week's start, Marcum has faced the Cardinals five times this season. He's recorded three quality starts, a rough outing on August 2 (6 IP, 6 ER) and Tuesday's disaster. Nine Cardinals have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Lance Berkman 18 .059 .111 .059 .170
Rafael Furcal 18 .118 .167 .118 .284
Albert Pujols 14 .273 .429 .636 1.065
Nick Punto 13 .385 .385 .462 .846
Matt Holliday 12 .300 .417 .600 1.017
Jon Jay 12 .400 .417 .500 .917
Gerald Laird 12 .333 .333 .333 .667
Skip Schumaker 12 .250 .250 .250 .500
Yadier Molina 11 .273 .273 .364 .636

For the second time in the series, Marcum gets a shot at West Germany-born Edwin Jackson (3.79 ERA, 3.55 FIP 2011, 3.48 ERA, 3.51 FIP postseason). Jackson was hit around a bit but managed to mostly keep the Brewers off the board in Game 2, allowing two runs on seven hits over just 4.1 innings. He threw 82 pitches in the start.

You can say a lot of things about Jackson, but it's worth noting that he almost always pitches deep into games. His 4.1 inning outing on Monday was his shortest start since April 28, when the White Sox lifted him after four innings in a 12-3 loss to the Yankees. The 82 pitches he threw on Tuesday were the least he's thrown in a start in almost two full seasons.

Counting Tuesday, Jackson has made four starts against the Brewers in 2011. He's pitched two quality starts, the short start on Tuesday and an absolute disaster on August 3. Eight Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Yuniesky Betancourt 28 .231 .250 .269 .519
Ryan Braun 16 .333 .375 .533 .908
Prince Fielder 15 .200 .200 .333 .533
Jerry Hairston Jr 15 .538 .600 .538 1.138
Casey McGehee 14 .214 .214 .857 1.071
Corey Hart 13 .455 .538 1.091 1.629
Mark Kotsay 13 .200 .385 .300 .685
Nyjer Morgan 13 .417 .417 .667 1.083

Here's tonight's lineup:

Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Rickie Weeks 2B
Jerry Hairston Jr 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Shaun Marcum P

And in the bullpen:

Marco Estrada pitched one inning (27 pitches) Friday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (17 pitches) Friday.
Chris Narveson pitched .1 innings (one pitch) Friday.
Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford last pitched on Thursday.
LaTroy Hawkins
and Takashi Saito last pitched on Wednesday.

The roof is closed tonight, so the weather will not be a factor. Enjoy the game!

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