Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) at Reds (Arroyo)

Jun 9, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (61) pitches during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

If you're looking for something to do while waiting for tonight's game, I'll be making my weekly appearances on The Watercooler with Jimme Kaska on Sports Radio 1400 in Eau Claire at 5:15 and The Sports Den with Downtown Ollie Burrows on SportsFan 100.5 in Wausau at 5:30. - KL

Every losing streak has to end somewhere, in theory.

Tonight could be a good time for the Brewers to end their current three game skid as they take on Bronson Arroyo (4.19 ERA, 4.45 FIP). Arroyo's numbers have improved a bit since he allowed an NL leading 112 earned runs and an MLB-high 46 homers in 2011, but he's still allowed seven home runs in four outings in the month of June. He got roughed up by the Indians on Wednesday, allowing five runs on eight hits over four innings.

Despite a tendency to give up lots of home runs, Arroyo has hung around baseball for a long time for a couple of reasons: He can eat a lot of innings (199 or more in seven straight seasons) and he throws strikes. He's walking just 1.5 batters per nine innings in 2012, which helps to ensure that most of the long balls he gives up are solo shots.

Arroyo beat the Brewers on May 7, allowing a single run (a solo homer) on six hits over 6.2 innings, walking one and striking out a season-high nine. Seven current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Aramis Ramirez 61 .193 .246 .316 .562
Ryan Braun 45 .293 .356 .634 .990
Rickie Weeks 42 .158 .238 .395 .633
Cesar Izturis 28 .240 .296 .280 .576
Corey Hart 26 .227 .308 .227 .535
Nyjer Morgan 18 .214 .353 .286 .639
George Kottaras 10 .300 .300 .700 1.000

He'll face Marco Estrada (4.50 ERA, 5.00 FIP), who is making his first major league appearance and start since May 23. Estrada was pressed into service in the rotation when Chris Narveson went down for the season in April, but now he's missed most of June. He last pitched for Nashville on Thursday and allowed a run on six hits over five innings, walking one and striking out three.

Much like Arroyo, the home run ball is something to watch for with Estrada. Before his abbreviated final start he had allowed eight over his last five appearances. Also like Arroyo, though, Estrada has done a pretty good job of limiting walks to ensure that his mistakes are only solo shots.

The Reds beat Estrada on May 7, tagging him for five runs on eight hits over seven innings. All five runs in that outing scored in one inning, and the Reds took him deep twice. Three current Reds have faced him ten times or more:

Jay Bruce 10 .333 .400 1.000 1.400
Drew Stubbs 10 .100 .100 .200 .300
Joey Votto 10 .375 .500 .875 1.375

Tonight's lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Travis Ishikawa 1B
George Kottaras C
Taylor Green 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Marco Estrada P

And here's the bullpen, now back down to seven members since Mike McClendon has been sent back down:

Manny Parra pitched .2 innings (11 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (nine pitches) last night.
Livan Hernandez pitched .1 innings (4 pitches) last night.
Jose Veras pitched one inning (28 pitches) Sunday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched .2 innings (13 pitches) Sunday.
Tim Dillard pitched on Saturday.
John Axford hasn't pitched since Friday.

It looks like another nice night for baseball in Ohio, with temps in the 70's and nearly no chance of rain.

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