MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 02: Norichika Aoki #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers lays down a safety squeeze bunt, scoring Rickie Weeks and putting the Brewers up 6-5 in the bottom of the 8th inning against the Miami Marlins at Miller Park on July 02, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
A win today would mean the Brewers had taken four consecutive games, tying their longest streak of the 2012 season.
They'll go for it with Marco Estrada (4.50 ERA, 4.60 FIP) on the mound, making just his second start since coming off the DL. Estrada was very good his last time out, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings. All three runs scored on a home run in the sixth when his pitch count was starting to climb. He walked just two and struck out 12 in that game.
Estrada's control has been a major asset for him in 2012. He walked nearly three batters per nine innings in 2011 and almost five in 2010, but is giving out less than two free passes per nine innings in 2012 and hasn't walked more than two opposing batters in an appearance this season. That helps make up for the fact that he's one of just two pitchers in franchise history to pitch over 10 innings and allow more than two home runs per nine.
Estrada has faced the Marlins five times in his career, including two relief appearances last season. No current Marlins have faced him ten times or more, but Jose Reyes is 3-for-5 against him with a triple.
He'll face 28 year old Venezuelan righthander Anibal Sanchez (3.94 ERA, 3.46 FIP), who is on pace to post just under 200 innings with an ERA under 4 for the third consecutive season. He pitched seven innings against the Cardinals on Wednesday, allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Sanchez had a rough month of June, posting two disaster starts in five outings and carrying a 7.06 ERA over 29.1 innings. He had allowed just four home runs over ten appearances before allowing five in his last five. He throws a low 90's fastball with a steady mix of sliders and changeups. The changeup is his best pitch.
Sanchez has faced the Brewers six times in his career, and they've tagged him for ten runs on 18 hits over 10.1 innings since the start of the 2010 season. Three Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
And in the bullpen:
John Axford pitched one inning (20 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (16 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (13 pitches) last night.
Jose Veras pitched .1 innings (6 pitches) Sunday.
Tim Dillard and Manny Parra last pitched on Saturday.
Livan Hernandez last pitched on Friday.
It's another hot day in Milwaukee and the Miller Park roof will almost certainly be open. It's going to be really hot, though, so stay hydrated if you're out there.