Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Marcum) at Astros (Happ)

Apr 25, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Houston Astros pitcher J.A. Happ (30) stands on the mound as Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (8) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

All things considered, a 2-2 road trip would be disappointing but not the end of the world.

To get there, though, the Brewers will need to beat J.A. Happ (5.72 ERA, 4.98 FIP). Given their recent trend of struggling against unlikely starting pitchers, though, it's possible to imagine them not doing that. Happ leads the NL with eight home runs allowed, and is walking nearly four batters per nine innings. He has a 7.17 ERA over his last four starts, and allowed five runs on six hits over just five innings against the Pirates on Saturday.

Happ works right around 90 with his fastball, mixing in a steady collection of sliders, curves and changeups. His fastball has historically been his best pitch, but the slider is statistically better this season.

Happ's current rough spell started on April 25 when he faced the Brewers and allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings, walking two and striking out eight. Travis Ishikawa and Ryan Braun homered off him in that game. Four current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Ryan Braun 19 .294 .368 .706 1.074
Corey Hart 19 .467 .579 .867 1.446
Jonathan Lucroy 12 .250 .250 .333 .583
Rickie Weeks 10 .625 .700 1.250 1.950

He'll face Shaun Marcum (3.07 ERA, 3.31 FIP), who for the second consecutive season is off to a pretty good start. Marcum had a 2.06 ERA after seven starts last season. This year his seventh start came against the Cubs on Saturday and he allowed a run on just three hits over seven innings.

For just the third time in his career Marcum has gone four starts without allowing a home run. Last year he had a stretch of six starts from August into September. He's posted a 2.52 ERA over the current streak but has won just one of the four games.

Marcum's worst start of the 2012 season came against Happ and the Astros on April 25. He allowed four runs on eight hits and pitched just five innings in that game, walking four and striking out seven. The only Astro who's faced him ten times or more is Jed Lowrie, who is 2-for-13 with a pair of walks for a .182/.308/.182 line.

As of this writing I haven't seen tonight's lineup.

In the bullpen:

Tim Dillard pitched 1.2 innings (26 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Tuesday.
Vinnie Chulk pitched two innings (27 pitches) last night.
Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (3 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched one inning (18 pitches) Tuesday.
Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras last pitched on Monday,
Kameron Loe last pitched on Sunday.

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