Today's Matchup: Brewers (Greinke) vs Reds (Cueto)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the quick turnaround between last night and today's games, the Frosty Mug is off today. It will return (with a likely super-sized edition) tomorrow. - KL

Not only is there no Mug today, but there's also no TV in Wisconsin as the Brewers and Reds wrap up this three game set.

That means a statewide audience is going to miss this opportunity to see Zack Greinke (4.11 ERA, 2.17 FIP), who has still never lost a home start as a Brewer. He's 2-0 in three Miller Park appearances this season (and the Brewers won the other game), and the Brewers won all 15 of his home starts last year too. Greinke last pitched on Friday, allowing three earned runs (four total) on seven hits over 5.1 innings against the Giants. He walked one, struck out five and threw 96 pitches in the outing.

The biggest difference between Greinke in 2011 and 2012 might be a better tendency to keep the ball in the ballpark. Greinke allowed 19 home runs over 171.2 innings last season, roughly one every nine innings. This season he's allowed just one over 35 innings. He's one of just ten pitchers in all of baseball that have thrown 35 or more innings and allowed one homer or less. He's the only one of the ten with an ERA over four.

Greinke has faced the Reds four times in his career, and three of those four outings came last season. He posted a 2.37 ERA over 19 innings against them in 2011, walking eight and striking out 26 in 19 innings. Five current Reds have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Scott Rolen 23 .200 .261 .250 .511
Jay Bruce 13 .154 .154 .154 .308
Ryan Ludwick 13 .000 .083 .000 .083
Joey Votto 13 .364 .462 1.182 1.643
Drew Stubbs 12 .455 .500 .545 1.045

He'll face Johnny Cueto (1.31 ERA, 3.18 FIP), who appears to have picked up right where he left off in a very strong partial season in 2011. A year after posting a 2.31 ERA in 24 starts, Cueto has allowed just six earned runs over 41.1 innings of work in 2012. He's also walked just seven batters over those innings (1.5 per nine innings), but leads the NL with five HBP. He pitched a complete game against the Astros on Friday, allowing a run on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He threw 110 pitches in that game, and has thrown at least that many in each of his last four outings.

Cueto's fastball sits in the low 90's, and he'll mix in a solid collection of sliders, changeups and the occasional curveball or cutter. His fastball and slider are both very good. He's actually off to a hot start despite the fact that hitters are swinging and missing at his pitches just 6.3% of the time, down from 8.7% for his career. Pitch f/x says his pitches are in the strike zone 52% of the time this season, which would be a career high.

Cueto has faced the Brewers nine times in his career, but only one of those meetings came last season. He pitched a quality start against the Crew on July 9, 2011, allowing three runs on six hits over 6.1 innings. Brewer batters drew four walks against him that day, compared to just two strikeouts. Five current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Aramis Ramirez 36 .296 .472 .593 1.065
Corey Hart 27 .292 .370 .667 1.037
Ryan Braun 23 .227 .261 .318 .579
Rickie Weeks 22 .222 .364 .333 .697
Nyjer Morgan 15 .385 .400 .538 .938

Taylor Green is back in the lineup today:

Nyjer Morgan CF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Taylor Green 1B
Cesar Izturis SS
Zack Greinke P

In the bullpen:

Jose Veras pitched one inning (19 pitches) last night.
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (15 pitches) last night.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (7 pitches) last night.
Vinnie Chulk pitched one inning (22 pitches) Monday.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (15 pitches) Monday.
Francisco Rodriguez hasn't pitched since Sunday.
John Axford hasn't pitched since Friday.

The forecast for today's game is clear with temperatures in the low 50's. As of this writing the Miller Park Roof Hotline hadn't been updated for today's game.

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