Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Marcum) at Braves (Beachy)

Tonight the Brewers will look to avoid the sweep in Atlanta.

If they're going to do it they'll have to beat Brandon Beachy (3.47 ERA, 3.38 FIP), making his tenth career major league start and his seventh of 2011. Beachy has been very good lately, posting a 1.89 ERA and striking out 19 while walking just three over his last three starts. He pitched very well against the Cardinals on Saturday, allowing two runs on just three hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five in the game.

Beachy is probably due for a fair amount of regression, and hopefully the Brewers can make that happen tonight. Through seven starts he's getting ground balls just 27.7% of the time but allowing opposing batters to hit just .237 on balls in play. That BABIP number isn't near sustainable.

Beachy faced the Brewers in his first start of the season on April 4, allowing a run on four hits over six innings, walking one and striking out seven. Rickie Weeks' solo home run was the only run for the Brewers in the game. Weeks and Yuniesky Betancourt each had two hits off Beachy in the game, but no other Brewers had any.

Beachy will face Shaun Marcum (2.21 ERA, 3.05 FIP), who is pitching very well right now. Since struggling in his first outing of the year against the Reds, Marcum has posted a 1.69 ERA in 32 innings and allowed opposing batters to hit just .205/.244/.274.

Early numbers would suggest Marcum is handling the transition from the AL to the NL pretty well. His strikeout rates are at a career high (8.35 per nine, up from 7.60 last season), and his WHIP (1.06) and HR/9 (0.74) are at career low levels. NL hitters are really struggling to hit his breaking pitches: FanGraphs has his curveball (+4.53 runs per 100), slider (+4.27) and changeup (+2.25) all way above average.

Marcum faced the Braves in his second 2010 start and did pretty well, allowing two runs on five hits over six innings. That was the only time he's faced Atlanta in his career. Eric Hinske is the only current Brave that's faced him ten times or more: He's hitting .111/.273/.111 in 11 plate appearances.

Via Tyler Barnes, here's tonight's lineup:

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

And in the bullpen:

Mitch Stetter pitched .2 innings (12 pitches) last night in game one, and .1 innings (3 pitches) in game two.
Sergio Mitre pitched one inning (32 pitches) last night.
Brandon Kintzler pitched one inning (27 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched one inning (22 pitches) last night.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (13 pitches) last night.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched .2 innings (25 pitches) last night.
Mike McClendon last pitched on Monday for Nashville.

I'd guess Loe and Axford are available tonight if Marcum leaves the Brewers a close game or a save situation. If not, McClendon is probably available for multiple innings in mop-up duty. I'll be surprised if we see Stetter, Mitre or Hawkins in a non-emergency situation.

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