Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Marcum) vs Mets (Capuano)

The Brewers are 21-7 and winners of 13 of their last 15 games at home, and tonight they welcome an old friend back to Miller Park.

Before he takes the mound, though, Shaun Marcum (2.78 ERA, 2.86 FIP) will get the start for the Brewers. I don't think anyone would argue with the assertion that Marcum has been the Brewers' best starter this season. He's already been worth 1.9 fWAR in slightly more than two months, and he's having the best season of his career in terms of strikeout (8.58 per nine innings) and walk (1.97 per nine) rates. He picked up a no decision against the Reds on Wednesday, allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings with no walks and seven strikeouts.

Marcum's pitch counts have gradually increased as the season has gone along, and he's back to roughly what you'd expect for a starting pitcher. After averaging just 93.5 pitches per start in March and April, he's now at 99.1 for May and June. He's thrown 100 or more pitches in each of his last three outings.

Marcum has never faced the Mets in the regular season, and only three current Mets have faced him at all: Jason Bay, Scott Hairston and Willie Harris are a combined 2-for-6 against him with a couple of walks.

He'll face longtime former Brewer Chris Capuano (5.19 ERA, 4.24 FIP), making his 13th appearance and 11th start in his first season as a Met. He's already thrown 60.2 innings for New York after pitching just 66 as a Brewer last season, but his numbers would suggest he's handling the workload well: His strikeout (7.27 per nine) and walk (2.52 per nine) rates are near his career numbers and his velocity and mix of pitches are roughly what they've always been.

If you've forgotten Chris Capuano's arsenal, a changeup or two should remind you. He throws the pitch more than 25% of the time, and it's been his best weapon over the course of his career. He also has a mid-to-upper 80's fastball and an average slider.

Capuano had only made nine major league appearances when he was traded to Milwaukee before the 2004 season, and none of them were against the Brewers. As you might expect, no current Brewers have faced him ten times or more. Craig Counsell has seen him seven times, though, and is 3-for-6 with an HBP.

With a lefty on the mound tonight, Carlos Gomez takes Nyjer Morgan's place in the lineup:

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

And in the bullpen:

John Axford left the team yesterday to attend the birth of his son, and I'm not sure if he's returned.
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (17 pitches) last night and also pitched on Sunday.
Sergio Mitre pitched one inning (12 pitches) last night.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (14 pitches) Sunday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched .1 innings (8 pitches) Sunday.
Zach Braddock faced one batter (one pitch) Sunday.
Marco Estrada pitched 1.2 innings (27 pitches) Sunday

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