Game Thread #-8: Brewers (11-13-2) vs Reds (11-16)

Randy Wolf should get to hit again today: He's 2-for-3 with an RBI this spring.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're not listening to today's game or you'd like a break from it, I'll be appearing on The Mike Heller Show on The Big 1070 in Madison at 4:05 today, assuming I can get past the pain of Zelous Wheeler's sudden departure. - KL

None of the outcomes of these games really matter, of course. On April 6 we'll forget who was better than who in the Cactus League and an 0-30 March would be just fine if it led to a 10-0 start to April. With that said, the Brewers and Reds only meet twice this month and the Reds won the other one, so it'd be nice if the Brewers could even the score today.

Randy Wolf and the Brewers host Aroldis Chapman and the Reds at 3:05 today, and you can listen live on WTMJ or via Gameday Audio at Brewers.com.

Follow the jump for today's pitching matchup and lineup, then join us in the comments to discuss today's game!

Randy Wolf (3.26 ERA this spring, 3.69/4.29 ERA/FIP in 2011) is making his sixth start of the spring, and his results have been fine but not great recently: After pitching 4.2 shutout innings to start the spring he's allowed seven earned runs over 14.2 innings since (a 4.30 ERA). The bigger concern is that he's walked four batters and allowed 21 hits over those innings for a 1.71 WHIP.

Much of the change between Wolf's performances in 2010 and 2011 can be attributed to his ability to keep batters from walking. He gave up 3.6 free passes per nine innings in 2010 but just 2.8 in 2011, his second lowest total of the last eight seasons. He's given up six walks over 19.1 innings this spring (2.8 per nine), so that's encouraging.

Wolf faced the Reds three times in 2011, with two solid outings and a rough one:

Date IP H ER BB K Result
April 3 4 10 6 2 5 Reds win, 12-3
July 10 7 7 2 4 2 Brewers win, 4-3
September 16 7 7 3 0 7 Brewers win, 6-3

He'll face Aroldis Chapman (1.50 ERA this spring, 3.60/3.29 ERA/FIP in 2011), who is working on making the transition into the rotation this spring after pitching 54 games in relief in 2011. He last pitched against the Padres on Saturday and worked five shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five. All told he's struck out 12 in as many innings this spring.

It remains to be seen how Chapman's stuff will translate to his new role, but he was nearly unhittable as a reliever when he was on. Chapman has struck out 12.79 batters per nine innings over 63.1 major league innings, and PitchF/x clocked his average fastball over 98 mph last season. Control has, however, been a major issue for him. He walked 41 batters in 50 innings last season.

Chapman faced the Brewers six times last season, holding them scoreless on just two hits and a walk over 6.2 innings. He struck out ten of the 20 batters he retired.

Here's today's lineup:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Mat Gamel 1B
Carlos Gomez RF
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf P

Enjoy the game!

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