Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) vs Reds (Bailey)

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 07: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws his bat as he pops out to Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds in right field during the game at Miller Park on May 07, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're looking for something to do while waiting for tonight's game, I'll be making my weekly appearance on The Watercooler with Jimmie Kaska at 5:15 on WBIZ in Eau Claire (AM 1400). - KL

Maybe now that Doug Melvin and Ron Roenicke's contract extensions are done, the Brewers can get back to the business of winning on the field.

Yovani Gallardo was expected to start yesterday until near the last moment, when the Brewers announced that Marco Estrada was taking his place and that there had been a miscommunication. As such, JP had a preview all set for Gallardo and, with his permission, I'm borrowing it below.

Yovani Gallardo (5.79 ERA, 3.94 FIP) gets the start tonight for the Brewers. His rough season continued in his last start against the Padres. He did record a quality start with six innings pitched and three runs allowed, but only struck out four and walked three. This season, his strikeout rate is slightly down (8.99 K/9 in 2011, 8.54 K/9 in 2012, 9.22 K/9 career) and his walk rate is up (2.56 BB/9 in 2011, 3.88 BB/9 in 2012, 3.47 BB/9 career).

When looking at Gallardo's pitches for this season, some trends are showing up. His fastball velocity is down to 91.5 MPH from 92.6 MPH last season. His curveball velocity is also down to 79.9 MPH this season from 80.7 MPH last season. In addition, he is throwing his slider at a higher rate (25.4% in 2012, 19.3% in 2011), and he is throwing his curveball less (16.0% in 2012, 20.3% in 2011).

Eight Reds have faced Yovani Gallardo ten times or more, and most of them have done well against Gallardo.

Name PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Brandon Phillips 30 .280 .357 .480 .837
Joey Votto 26 .333 .423 .619 1.042
Jay Bruce 19 .471 .526 .647 1.173
Drew Stubbs 18 .286 .444 .643 1.087
Scott Rolen 14 .538 .571 .923 1.495
Ryan Ludwick 13 .364 .462 .909 1.371
Ryan Hanigan 12 .273 .333 .364 .697
Willie Harris 10 .250 .400 .375 .775

The Brewers, meanwhile, will face Homer Bailey (3.77 ERA, 5.15 FIP), who is in his sixth major league season but only the season where he's appeared in big league games in April. He last pitched against the Cubs on Thursday and allowed three runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out four in six innings. He's pitched either six or 6.1 innings and allowed exactly three runs in three of his last four appearances.

Bailey throws reasonably hard, with a 91-94 mph fastball, a plus slider he'll throw about 16% of the time, a splitter and a curve. The slider has been his best pitch statistically in each of the last three seasons.

Bailey has faced the Brewers eight times in his career, but only one of them came last season. On July 7 the Brewers knocked him around to the tune of five runs on eight hits over six innings, and Rickie Weeks took him deep. Weeks is one of four Brewers that have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Ryan Braun 21 .250 .286 .550 .836
Corey Hart 21 .200 .238 .200 .438
Rickie Weeks 21 .588 .667 .824 1.490
Aramis Ramirez
16 .333 .438 .333 .771

Here's tonight's lineup:

Nyjer Morgan CF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Cesar Izturis SS
Yovani Gallardo P

In the bullpen:

Manny Parra pitched one inning last night (15 pitches), and has appeared in three straight games.
Vinnie Chulk (22 pitches) got to pitch yesterday!
Jose Veras pitched 1.2 innings (35 pitches) Sunday.
Tim Dillard pitched .1 innings (17 pitches) Sunday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (11 pitches) Sunday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (7 pitches) Sunday.
John Axford last pitched on Friday.

The Miller Park roof is scheduled to be open tonight for the first time all season, but that could change if the threat of scattered rain showers materializes.

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