LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 14: Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts as he watches a homerun off the bat of Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Counting a pair of 2011 NLDS games and two visits this spring, the Brewers have lost their last five games at Chase Field. Tonight seems like a good time to reverse that trend.
When the two teams take the field at an exceedingly-late 8:40 pm tonight, 27-year-old right-hander Ian Kennedy (4.47 ERA, 3.85 FIP) will be on the mound. He's posted a 7.27 ERA over his last three starts and the worst of the trio came on Saturday, when he allowed six runs to the Royals on eight hits while lasting just 4.1 innings. With the exception of that start, he's pitched six or more innings in every outing this season.
Kennedy's ERA is the highest it's been in any of his three seasons as a Diamondback, at least partially because his strikeout rate is down to around seven per nine innings after being over eight last season. He'll work around 90 with his two-seam fastball and mix in some changeups along with an occasional curveball or cutter. FanGraphs says all of his pitches have been below average this season.
Counting the postseason the Brewers faced Kennedy three times in 2011. He shut them out for seven innings during the regular season on July 21 but allowed six runs on 13 hits over 12.2 postseason innings in two starts, striking out eight while walking three. Six Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Yovani Gallardo (4.62 ERA, 3.85 FIP) who has an interesting streak of consistency going: He's pitched exactly six innings and allowed either two or three runs in each of his previous four starts in May. Only one of his two runs was earned in his outing against the Twins on Saturday, and he held them to just three hits and three walks over six innings.
Gallardo has been pretty good in the month of May at keeping batters from getting hits (allowing just six hits per nine innings), but unfortunately he's negated that a bit with a high walk rate (5.25 per nine). Because hitters are being patient with him he's needed over 100 pitches to finish the sixth in each of his last four outings. Pitch F/x says just 43% of his pitches are in the strike zone.
Gallardo was excellent against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, allowing two runs on just ten hits over 14 innings and striking out 14 while walking just three. He also beat them twice during the regular season. Four Diamondbacks have faced him ten times or more:
Here's tonight's lineup:
Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Rickie Weeks 2B
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Cesar Izturis SS
Yovani Gallardo P
In the bullpen:
Kameron Loe pitched two innings (41 pitches) Wednesday and also pitched on Tuesday.
Jose Veras pitched two innings (22 pitches) Wednesday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (29 pitches) Wednesday.
John Axford pitched one inning (11 pitches) Wednesday.
Mike McClendon pitched one inning (10 pitches) on Wednesday for Nashville.
Juan Perez last pitched on Tuesday.
Tim Dillard last pitched on Sunday.
Manny Parra pitched two innings (44 pitches) Wednesday and is expected to start Tuesday.
We've got more on the pen's current situation here.
Now go make your Prognostikegger predictions before tonight's game starts.