June 12, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Home plate umpire Bill Miller (14) speaks to players on the Milwaukee Brewers bench in the seventh inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
It could and really probably should be a pretty good night for both offenses tonight.
First, the Royals are sending Jonathan Sanchez (6.75 ERA, 5.62 FIP) to the mound. Sanchez is 29 years old and when both were still starters he was frequently compared to Manny Parra: He's a pitcher with very good stuff and occasional strong outings but never quite seems to put it together. He's coming off the DL tonight to pitch for the first time since May 7.
For the second consecutive night the Brewers will be facing a pitcher they need to be patient against. Sanchez has walked nearly five batters per nine innings over his career and nearly eight batters per nine in 2012. His velocity is also down a little: He's averaged 90.8 mph on his fastball over his career but he's sitting around 89 this season. He'll also throw a lot of changeups and some sliders.
Sanchez has faced the Brewers ten times in his career, including once last year when he held them to two runs on just two hits over seven innings. Three current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Meanwhile the Brewers will send Randy Wolf (5.45 ERA, 4.37 FIP), who has more work to do to prove he's not the best candidate to be removed from the rotation when Marco Estrada is healthy. Wolf has been better lately, though, posting a 4.57 ERA since May 1 (he was at 6.84 before). He faced the Cubs on Thursday and allowed an unearned run on four hits over 6.2 innings.
I searched high and low for reasons to be optimistic about Wolf, and didn't find much. I will say this, though: A career-high 44% of balls hit in play against him in 2012 have been on the ground, while just 34% have been fly balls. Despite that fact, opposing hitters are still hitting .329 on balls in play against him, up from .286 for his career.
Randy Wolf has pitched 358 games over 14 major league seasons, but this is the first time he's ever faced the Royals. Two current Royals have faced him ten times or more:
Here's tonight's lineup:
And in the bullpen:
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (15 pitches) last night, and has appeared in three straight games over four days.
John Axford and Jose Veras last pitched on Sunday.
Manny Parra last pitched on Saturday.
Tim Dillard and Kameron Loe last pitched on Friday.
Juan Perez last pitched on Thursday.
It's another warm, sunny day in Kansas City. The gametime temperature should be around 85 and drop to around 80 by the end of the night. There's no precipitation in sight.