Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Narveson) at Padres (Harang)

The Brewers face the Padres for the last time in 2011 (zzzz) tonight (zzzzz) at 9:05PM. (Sorry, I think I fell asleep there...watched all of last night's game.)

The Brewers encounter an old adversary tonight in the Padres' starter Aaron Harang (5.05 ERA, 4.47 FIP.) Most of us should recall Harang's long career as a Cincinnati Red. He returned to his hometown of San Diego after 8 seasons with the Reds. It's true that he's never been quite the same since his short-rest extra-innings appearance against the Padres back in '08, but whether that was the cause or just a symptom of overwork with the Reds is still in the realm of speculation. He did have injury issues in 2009 and 2010 though. It doesn't look as if his short time with San Diego is getting him back into his pre-2008 mode, either. In his last start, he gave up 7 runs to the Rockies in Denver, but two starts before that he gave up 8 runs to the Braves at home. Yes, it's possible for an experienced MLB pitcher to give up 8 runs in Petco. His pitch mix hasn't changed much over the years--fastballs and sliders, mostly--and he's always been more of a fly ball pitcher, so something else is going on.

The Brewers are actually the NL Central opponent that he's faced the least. Craig Counsell is probably in tonight's lineup because he's batted .385 against Harang in 37 AB, but most of tonight's lineup has had some success (or at least gone 1 for 3) against him. Jonathan Lucroy's only faced him twice and was unable to reach base. Both Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have hit 3 home runs off of Harang.

On the other hand--literally--Chris Narveson (4.00 ERA, 3.05 FIP) (!) is pitching for the Brewers tonight. I was listening to this week's Fangraphs podcast and there were people on there saying very nice things about both his and Shaun Marcum's changeup. How does Narveson get so many people to swing at his stuff, despite his being a low-velocity thrower? It's the changeup.

Narveson's not faced much of the Padres; Ryan Ludwick the former Cardinal obviously has the most appearances against him...all of 8. Unlike Harang, Narveson has only had one start of completely awful quality this year. He's pitched at least 6 innings in 6 of his 8 starts in 2011.

Lineups!

Milwaukee Brewers San Diego Padres
Rickie Weeks 2B Chris Denorfia RF
Corey Hart RF Jason Bartlett SS
Ryan Braun LF Ryan Ludwick LF
Prince Fielder 1B Jorge Cantu 1B
Casey McGehee 3B Cameron Maybin CF
Mark Kotsay CF Chase Headley 3B
Jonathan Lucroy C Orlando Hudson 2B
Craig Counsell SS Rob Johnson C
Chris Narveson P Aaron Harang P

Bullpen usage tracker:

John Axford pitched 1 inning (19 pitches) last night.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (16 pitches) last night.
Marco Estrada pitched 1 inning (12 pitches) last night.
Mike McClendon pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) on Tuesday.
Sergio Mitre pitched 1.2 innings (22 pitches) on Tuesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (9 pitches) on Monday.
Tim Dillard is encased in Snow White's glass box, marked with "Break in Case of Emergencies" or something.
Oh, and I hear Zach Braddock may be back in town.

Weather: according to the National Weather Service, there may be fog (no, not the ex-Reds pitcher) after 11PM. Hopefully it won't go into extras. Gametime temperature will be in the low 60s with low wind from the west and rapidly increasing humidity (hence the fog chance, yup.)

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