I don't mean to jinx it, but this is another game the Brewers should win.
Tonight the Crew will face Casey Coleman (7.06 ERA, 4.61 FIP), their fourth straight opposing starter with an ERA over 5. Coleman is making his 18th appearance (16th start) for the Cubs and has been awful across the board, allowing a 1.872 WHIP and walking over five batters per nine innings. He got lit up by the Reds on Wednesday, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks over 3.2 innings.
Coleman works right around 90 mph with his fastball and mixes in a fair number of changeups, curves and sliders. FanGraphs says all four pitches have been below average this season, but he's still striking out 7.43 batters per nine innings. There likely has been some bad luck involved in his rough 2011: Opposing batters are hitting .364 on balls in play against him.
Coleman has faced the Brewers twice this season: On April 10 he allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings, and on August 28 he allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings. The Brewers won both games. Two Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Fielder, Braun and Corey Hart have all taken him deep this season.
He'll face Chris Narveson (4.40 ERA, 3.78 FIP), who is likely back from the bullpen for the rest of the regular season. The Brewers have an off day on Thursday but play six straight days to finish the season, so they'll likely need a fifth starter one more time. Narveson pitched two perfect relief innings on Wednesday, striking out two and recording six outs on just 23 pitches.
Narveson's role going forward is an interesting question mark. He's probably not going to make the postseason rotation unless someone gets hurt, but he's likely better suited for long relief than work as a situational lefty in October. Narveson has faced 364 lefties this season and they're hitting .235/.318/.335 against him, which isn't terrible but isn't really anything to write home about either. For comparison purposes, John Axford (.512 OPS against) and LaTroy Hawkins (.604) have both been better.
Narveson is facing the Cubs for the fourth time this season: He's allowed six runs on 20 hits over 17.1 innings in his previous three starts, all Brewer wins. He struck out 17 and walked five in those games. Seven Cubs have faced him ten times or more:
Tonight's lineup features a change at shortstop:
RF Corey Hart
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
2B Rickie Weeks
3B Casey McGehee
SS Jerry Hairston, Jr.
C Jonathan Lucroy
P Chris Narveson
And in the bullpen:
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Takashi Saito pitched one inning (five pitches) yesterday.
Frankie De La Cruz pitched one inning (13 pitches) Saturday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (10 pitches) Saturday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched one inning (10 pitches) Saturday.
John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Friday.
Marco Estrada and Michael Fiers last pitched on Wednesday.
It looks like a nice night for baseball in Chicago: The rain will have drifted off by then and the temperatures should be in the mid 60's.