Dan Haren is probably better than you think he is.
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're not listening to today's game or would like to take a break from the action, I'll be appearing on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on The Score (AM 1570 in Appleton) at 4 pm. We're broadcasting live from The Stoneyard, so stop in and say hello if you're in the neighborhood.
Follow the jump for today's pitching matchup and lineup, then join us in the comments to discuss today's game!
Zack Greinke (1.29 ERA this spring, 3.83/2.98 ERA/FIP in 2011) is making his fourth official appearance (third start) of the spring, and his first since facing the Mariners on March 13. Greinke was scheduled to take the mound on Sunday but pitched a simulated game instead when the weather looked like it might become a factor. Despite having pitched just seven official innings, Greinke is tied for the team lead with eleven strikeouts this spring.
Strikeouts are one of the most notable assets of Greinke's game, as he set a new career high, led the National League and broke the Brewer franchise record by striking out 10.5 batters per nine innings last season. Despite pitching just 171.2 innings in the regular season, in 2011 Greinke became just the fifth Brewer ever to record 200 strikeouts in a season.
Greinke has faced the Angels eight times in his career, but hasn't seen them since 2010. All told he has a 3.70 ERA over 48.2 innings. That information is about as worthless as anything else you'll hear today.
He'll face Dan Haren (0.90 ERA this spring, 3.17/2.98 ERA/FIP in 2011), who is also making his fourth appearance of the spring. Haren recorded a rare Cactus League complete game his last time out on Sunday, allowing a run on two hits and striking out five in the Angels' 1-1 rain-shortened tie with the Dodgers. The run he allowed in that game is the only one he's given up this spring, and he's struck out 15 batters in ten innings of work.
Haren throws a fastball right around 90 mph, but relies heavily on a cutter (nearly 48% of all pitches) and mixes in splitters and curves. According to FanGraphs both his cutter and curve were above average pitches in 2011, and the cutter has easily been his best pitch for his career. Haren, who is 31 years old, has pitched 216 or more innings in each of the last seven seasons.
Haren hasn't faced the Brewers during the regular season since 2009, when he made one start against them and allowed a run on four hits over eight innings. He struck out eleven in that game.
Here's the lineup he'll face today:
Assuming Corey Hart opens the season on the DL, I'd say there's a good chance this is the Opening Day lineup (with Gallardo pitching).
Enjoy the game!