Today's Game: Cardinals (Carpenter) vs. Brewers (Greinke)

Craigers and Greinkers tonight!

The Brewers got a big win yesterday.  Another will put them just half a game behind St. Louis for first place. 

The Cardinals will hope to prevent this by sending Chris Carpenter (1-5, 4.25) to the mound.  After Adam Wainwright was lost for the year, the Cards were relying on Chris Carpenter to be the team ace in 2011.  He hasn't been terrible, but thus far he hasn't quite lived up to that billing yet.  His 1.406 WHIP is the highest that number has been for Carpenter since 2002 if we don't include 2007, when he only appeared in one game.  His FIP currently sits at 3.44 and he is striking out more hitters and walking less hitters than he has over his career.  That being said, his BABIP is a bit unlucky at .333, so it follows that his H/9 (10.4 this year) is up significantly over his career numbers. 

According to Texas Leaguers, Carpenter throws a low 90s sinker, a high 80s cutter, and a mid 70s curveball.  They also have him throwing changeups, four seamers, and sliders all very infrequently this year.  Interestingly, fangraphs has his slider as being second to his fastballs for the most valuable pitch over his career.  Perhaps he actually throws more of a slurve?  Fangraphs also has the curve as his third most valuable pitch. 

In his last outing, against the Cubs, Carpenter had one of his best starts in 2011 going a full nine innings and allowing just two runs.  Five different Brewers have faced Carpenter at least 10 times.  Here's how they have fared:

PA Triple Slash
Craig Counsell 21 .278/.350/.278
Prince Fielder 18 .333/.444/.533
Casey McGehee 15 .286/.333/.429
Ryan Braun 12 .250/.250/.500
Nyjer Morgan 11 .100/.100/.100

 

The Brewers, of course, will have the one and only Zack Greinke (5-1, 4.83) on the mound.  If Greinke had enough innings to qualify (he's just short) he would be leading the MLB in xFIP.  He would also be third in FIP.  Dude may have a poor ERA but he is definitely pitching well.  I mean, a 11.20 K/9 and a 1.54 BB/9?  He's also been unlucky with an opponent BABIP of .346.  The scary thing about Greinke (and it's probably because hits have been falling in for opposing teams) is that he hasn't even looked all that dominating yet and he's still killing in the advanced stats.  As his ERA moves back lower and with Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum pitching well this Brewers pitching trio is looking about as good as we hoped for.

Greinke has only faced one Cardinal 10 times or more.  That, of course, is Albert Pujols, who has a .333/.500/.444 line in 12 PA with no HR and one strike out. 

Not a bad looking lineup tonight with Counsell back in after his outstanding game yesterday:

Brewers
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
SS Craig Counsell
Jonathan Lucroy
RHP Zack Greinke

Cardinals
SS Ryan Theriot
RF John Jay
1B Albert Pujols
LF Lance Berkman
CF Colby Rasmus
C Yadier Molina
2B Skip Schumaker
3B Daniel Descalso
RHP Chris Carpenter

Bullpen:

Tim Dillard pitched two innings (15 pitches) Thursday and one inning (9 pitches) last night.
Sergio Mitre
pitched two innings (31 pitches) Thursday.
Marco Estrada pitched one inning (22 pitches) Thursday.
John Axford pitched one inning (18 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 0.2 innings (18 pitches) Wednesday.
Zach Braddock pitched 0.2 innings (15 pitches) Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins hasn't pitched since Tuesday.

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