Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Marcum) at Mets (Pelfrey)

Y'know what'd be cool tonight? If the Brewers won again.

They'll face Mike Pelfrey (4.58 ERA, 4.58 FIP), who is having a bit of a down year. Through 26 appearances (25 starts) he's worth just 0.4 fWAR after being worth 2.9 in 2010. And his FIP (4.58) is the highest it's been since 2007. He started a game on Saturday but left after four innings when he was hit by a line drive. He made a relief appearance on Tuesday, allowing a run on two hits in .1 innings of work.

Pelfrey doesn't get many strikeouts, averaging just 4.88 per nine innings this season, and in 2011 his home run rate has gone through the roof: He's giving up 1.15 per nine innings, up from 0.53 last season. He throws a low 90's fastball but uses it just 64% of the time (down from 73.7% career), instead using a fair number of sliders and splitters. That decision is interesting because the heater has been his only plus pitch in 2011, according to FanGraphs. His slider (-1.88 runs per 100) has been particularly poor.

Pelfrey faced the Brewers on June 8 and received a no decision, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings. Prince Fielder took him deep in that game as part of the best hitting performance against the Mets in Brewer history. Four Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Nyjer Morgan 23 .150 .227 .150 .377
Jerry Hairston Jr 15 .071 .071 .071 .143
Prince Fielder 11 .333 .364 .778 1.141
Felipe Lopez 11 .250 .364 .250 .614

He'll face Shaun Marcum (3.50 ERA, 3.63 FIP), who is coming off his best outing in quite some time. On Sunday against the Mets he threw 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. It was only the second time this season he's recorded an out in the eighth inning, and the first time since early June he completed an outing without allowing at least two runs.

Marcum's pitch counts are generally pretty low, so it'll be interesting to see how he responds tonight. He threw 116 pitches against the Pirates on Sunday, the most he's ever thrown in a major league game and easily the most he's thrown this season. With no off day in sight and a doubleheader on Monday, the Brewers could really use a long outing from him tonight.

Marcum faced Pelfrey and the Mets on June 7 and pitched six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and four walks while striking out just one. No Mets have faced him ten times or more.

Here's tonight's Brewer lineup:

Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Craig Counsell (inexplicably) 2B
Shaun Marcum P

And in the bullpen:

Kameron Loe pitched two innings (32 pitches) yesterday.
Frankie De La Cruz pitched one inning (23 pitches) yesterday.
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (22 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (20 pitches) Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (18 pitches) Wednesday.
Takashi Saito last pitched on Tuesday.
Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Saturday.

Weather:

Rain definitely could be a factor tonight, as the forecast calls for storms to roll through between now and midnight eastern and the area is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 9 pm. Assuming it's not raining temps should be in the upper 70s around game time and dropping into the 60s overnight.

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