Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Marcum) at Cubs (Volstad)

Apr. 4, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum (18) throws during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

After a quick stint at home to start the season, the Brewers head on the road for their first trip of the season.

Shaun Marcum (3.54 ERA, 3.73 FIP in 2011) makes his first start of the season, and gets his first chance to redeem himself after his disasterous performance in the 2011 postseason. Despite spending most of the spring recovering from shoulder issues, he is ready to make his first start on time. He did get roughed up in his one spring start on April 4, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched against the Diamondbacks.

Marcum has five pitches that he uses: a fastball (thrown 34.3% of the time according to FanGraphs), slider (10.9%), cutter (15.6%), curveball (14.2%) and changeup (24.8%). He's not a hard-throwing pitcher, and his average fastball is around 87 MPH. Historically, his changeup has been his best pitch, but last season his cutter ended up being more valuable. If you haven't read it yet, Jordan M took an in-depth look at Marcum earlier today.

Two Cubs have ten or more plate appearances against Shaun Marcum:

Player PA Line
David DeJesus 20 .000/.200/.000
Marlon Byrd 11 .100/.182/.100

Opposing for the Cubs is Chris Volstad (4.89 ERA, 4.32 FIP in 2011), who is making his Cubs regular-season debut tonight. The Cubs obtained him during the offseason in a trade from the Marlins that sent Carlos Zambrano to Miami. Volstad has struggled over his career in the majors, but has shown promise before and hopes to benefit from pitching for a new team.

Volstad primarily throws four pitches: a fastball (59%), slider (20%), curveball (9%) and changeup (12%). His fastball is generally around 91 MPH, and his most valuable pitch is his curveball.

The Brewers have had mixed results over their career against Chris Volstad:

Player PA Line
Nyjer Morgan 21 .176/.211/.353
Alex Gonzalez 13 .250/.308/.417
Aramis Ramirez 13 .500/.538/.917
Ryan Braun 12 .167/.167/.167
Corey Hart 12 .200/.333/.200
Rickie Weeks 12 .167/.167/.167

Here is tonight's lineup (posted by Mike Vassalo):

Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel 1B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Shaun Marcum RHP

In the bullpen:

Marco Estrada pitched 2 innings (31 pitches) yesterday.
Tim Dillard pitched 1 inning (16 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched .2 innings (27 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe pitched .1 inning (6 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (14 pitches) Saturday.
Jose Veras pitched 1 inning (19 pitches) Saturday.
Manny Parra pitched 2 innings (47 pitches) Friday.

There are plenty of ways to watch tonight's game. The usual options (FSN for TV and WTMJ for radio) are available. Tonight's game will also be broadcast on ESPN, and it is also today's MLB.TV Free Game.

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