The Brewers, who have won three straight, have a score to settle today: They've beaten the Royals once this spring (7-3 on Sunday) and lost once (9-4 on March 17). The winner of today's game will take the spring series, and while they don't actually gain control of the city of Williamsburg, Iowa (located roughly halfway between the two cities), that'd be a cool feature for them to incorporate into next year's series.
Follow the jump for today's pitching matchup and lineup, then join us in the comments to discuss today's game!
Yovani Gallardo (2.77 ERA this spring, 3.52/.359 ERA/FIP in 2011) takes the mound today for the fifth time this spring. He walked the tightrope for 4.2 shutout innings against the Diamondbacks his last time out, allowing eight baserunners (seven hits and a walk) but allowing none to cross the plate while striking out three.
Gallardo has hit the home stretch of spring training: He'll start today and likely again on April 1 before opening the season against the Cardinals a week from Friday. For all the talk about him getting a lighter load this spring, his six projected spring starts will be more than he made last year (five), and if he pitches eleven innings between those two outings he'll also set a new career high for spring innings pitched.
Gallardo, as you might imagine, doesn't face the Royals often during the regular season. He last saw them in 2007, when he made a single start against them in interleague play. This is the second time he's faced them this spring: They scored four runs on five hits against him in three innings on March 16.
He'll face Bruce Chen (15.00 ERA this spring, 3.77/4.39 ERA/FIP in 2012), whose middle name is "Kastulo." Chen is making his fifth start of the spring and three of the previous four did not go well: He's allowed at least four earned runs in three of his four Cactus League games and gave up ten runs on ten hits to the White Sox on Thursday in just 4.1 innings. I'm sure Ned Yost felt like he was "just one pitch away from getting out of it."
Chen had one of his better major league seasons in 2011 despite setting a career low by striking out just 5.63 batters per nine innings. He has a mid-80's fastball but throws it less than 50% of the time, relying instead on a slider, changeup and curve. The slider has been a plus pitch for him, while everything else has not.
Chen has been around a long time so he's seen the Brewers twelve times in his career, but hasn't faced them in a regular season game since 2003. This is also the first time he's faced them this spring.
Here's today's lineup:
Enjoy the game!