Todays Matchup: Milwaukee (Wolf) vs. St. Louis (Lynn)

One win down, how many more to go?

Randy Wolf (0-0, 0.00) makes his season debut today. He's the Brewers fourth best starter, but he's the third they are sending to the mound as they split the two lefties in the rotation. 2012 will be an important year for Wolf as a poor season could cost him a lot of money. The Brewers hold a $10 million team option on him for 2013, with a $1.5 million buyout. Right now, it seems likely that the team will pick up the option. They have a decent amount of money available next year and they could potentially already lose Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke from their rotation. However, that is a lot of money and if Wolf doesn't pitch well this year, the team could choose not to keep him on the team.

Wolf has been very reliable for the Brewers, though. He's made 33-34 starts each of the last four years and, over the last two years with the Brewers, has had a 4.17 and a 3.69 ERA. His FIP is never all that great, he doesn't strike out a great many hitters, and he doesn't have pinpoint control to keep from walking about three batters per nine innings. He's not a super ground ball pitcher. He actually has had home run trouble at points in his career. But somehow, Wolf has always managed to be a good-not-great pitcher. For a fourth starter, I'll take it.

The fourteen year veteran has faced six current Cardinals at least ten times. Here is how they have fared:

Player PA Line
Rafael Furcal 58 .218/.224/.335
Matt Holliday 49 .268/.388/.585
Carlos Beltran 41 .297/.366/.649
Yadier Molina 40 .250/.250/.425
Lance Berkman 39 .094/.256/.156
David Freese 21 .350/.381/.400

Lance Lynn (0-0, 0.00) gets the call for the Cardinals today. Lynn pitched in 18 games last year, with just two starts. He was very good in that stint, though, with a 3.12 ERA and 2.88 FIP. He also had a very impressive 10.38 K/9 and 2.86 BB/9. Of course, that was in just 34.2 innings, but it still should be an encouraging sign for the Cardinals. As a full time starter, his strikeout numbers should come down. The 39th pick of the 2008 draft cruised through his first two years of the minors, dominating the A and AA levels. He faltered in AAA in 2010, with a 4.77 ERA. St. Louis kept him in AAA to start 2011 and, before being called up, had a 3.84 ERA in 12 starts.

Lynn was supposed to pitch in the Cardinals bullpen this season, but the Chris Carpenter injury forced him into the starting rotation in mid-March. He may need to stretch out a little more, but should be able to give a decently long start for St. Louis.

Lynn hasn't faced any major leaguer more than five times in his short career. Out of seven Brewers who have faced him, only Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart have a hit against him.

Lineup:

Weeks 4
Morgan 8
Braun 7
Ramirez 5
Hart 9
Gamel 3
Gonzalez 6
Kottaras 2
Wolf 1

And in the bullpen:

Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 innings (14 pitches) yesterday.
Jose Veras pitched 1 innings (19 pitches) yesterday.

Tim Dillard
pitched 2 innings (33 pitches) Friday.
Manny Parra pitched 2 innings (47 pitches) Friday.
Marco Estrada pitched 1.1 innings (13 pitches) Friday.
John Axford has yet to pitch this season
Kameron Loe has yet to pitch this season

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