EDITOR'S NOTE: With the quick turnaround between last night and today's games, the Frosty Mug is off today. It will return tomorrow. - KL
Despite being eight games under .500, the Brewers have only been swept in a three game series three times this season. Today they'll try to avoid making it four.
If they're going to salvage a game in this series they'll have to do it against 24-year-old righty Vance Worley (3.82 ERA, 3.80 FIP), who has come from relative obscurity to become a pretty good major league starter. Worley was a third round pick in 2008 but was never a Baseball America top 100 prospect, and has posted a 3.35 ERA over 37 starts since Opening Day 2011. He got roughed up by the Giants on Friday, allowing six runs on six hits over six innings.
On paper it looks like Worley relies almost exclusively on two pitches: His fastball and a slider/cutter (FanGraphs and Pitch F/x disagree on the classification). He works right around 90 mph and is good at throwing first pitch strikes (59.3% of pitches) but only about 43% of his pitches overall are in the strike zone.
The Brewers faced Worley in September of last season, and scored three runs on eight hits against him over 6.2 innings. No current Brewers have faced him ten times or more.
He'll face Marco Estrada, a fly-ball heavy pitcher making a start in a very homer-friendly ballpark for the second consecutive outing. Estrada has allowed better than two home runs per nine innings this season and three of them came on Friday, when he held the Reds to those three runs on seven hits over seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
It's possible Estrada's recent work is about as good as a pitcher can hope to be while giving up lots of home runs. He has a 3.45 ERA and has struck out 39 while walking just four over his last 28.2 innings of work. He's actually allowed more home runs (6) than walks (4) over that time.
Estrada has faced the Phillies six times in his career, but all six outings were relief appearances and only one of them came in 2011. He pitched a single scoreless inning against them last season and allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one. No current Phillies have faced him ten times or more.
Here's today's lineup:
Carlos Gomez CF
Nyjer Morgan RF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart 1B
Rickie Weeks 2B
Martin Maldonado C
Cody Ransom SS
Marco Estrada P
And in the bullpen:
Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (25 pitches) last night and has appeared in three straight games.
Kameron Loe pitched .1 innings (16 pitches) last night.
Jose Veras pitched .1 innings (8 pitches) last night.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched .2 innings (35 pitches) Monday.
John Axford pitched 1.1 innings (21 pitches) Monday.
Livan Hernandez last pitched on Saturday.
Tyler Thornburg last pitched on Wednesday and no one seems to know what the plan is for him.
It should be a beautiful day for baseball in Philadelphia today with temperatures in the low 80's and no apparent threat of rain.