The good news for Dontrelle Willis (0-6, 5.04) is that he has cut down on the walks, which have plagued him since leaving the Marlins, by over three per nine innings from last season. The bad news is that he had been so terrible before that his BB/9 is still a 4.92. The guy has never been much of a strikeout pitcher, either, with a career K/9 of 6.59 which is, coincidentally, the exact same as his 2011 K/9. Still, his FIP is at 4.27 with a 4.06 xFIP, so maybe the Reds can actually salvage him. To do that, though, Willis will have to pitch better than he did his last outing, against the Cubs, when he gave up eight runs on nine hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. He also didn't strike out a batter.
Willis throws four pitches primarily: An 88 MPH four seamer, an 88 MPH two seamer, a 78 MPH slider, and an 82 MPH changeup. He'll also work in an 82 MPH cutter on occasion.
Zack Greinke (14-6, 3.87) will be taking the mound for the Brewers. Greinke still currently leads the MLB in xFIP as his 2.46 is nearly .2 better than Roy Halladay's number. His FIP is an also superb 2.88. His 10.5 K/9 is the best of his career while his 2.11 BB/9 is third only to his rookie season and his legendary 2009 campaign. His last outing, he ran up a high pitch count and only made it through five innings, but allowed just one run and still managed to strike out nine hitters. Three different Reds' batters have faced Greinke ten or more times. Here's how they've fared:
In the Bullpen:
Chris Narveson pitched two innings (23 pitches) Wednesday, and is expected to start on Monday.
Marco Estrada pitched one inning (22 pitches) Wednesday.
Michael Fiers pitched one inning (21 pitches) Wednesday.
Takashi Saito last pitched on Tuesday.
Tim Dillardlast pitched on Thursday, September 8.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) Friday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (8 pitches) Friday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) yesterday.
Eulogio De La Cruz pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) yesterday.