Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) vs Cubs (Rusin)

April 1, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Chris Rusin (88) throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

After tonight and tomorrow we won't see Cubs fans at Miller Park again until 2013.

One of the last Brewer pitchers to face the Cubs this season will be Marco Estrada (4.52 ERA, 4.11 FIP), who could really use a solid outing. Estrada has allowed four runs or more and pitched five innings or less in three of his last five starts, including Thursday against the Phillies when he allowed four runs on eight hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out just one in that game.

Estrada has an ERA over 5.50 over his last five starts, but in a related note he's signficantly reduced his home run rate recently. He's allowed just one over his last 26 innings after allowing 15 in the 63.2 that came before. During this recent stretch Estrada's strikeout rate has also plummeted, though, dropping to 5.5 per nine innings.

Estrada has made a start and a relief appearance against the Cubs this season, holding them to a combined two runs on five hits over seven innings. No current Cubs have faced him ten times or more.

He'll face 25-year-old lefthander Chris Rusin, who is making his major league debut. The Cubs selected Rusin in the fourth round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Kentucky, and he's spent parts of the last two seasons pitching for AAA Iowa. He has a 4.59 ERA over 133.1 innings there this season.

In this morning's Mug I mentioned that John Sickels of Minor League Ball had updated his scouting report on Rusin. Here's the part on his stuff:

Rusin can get into the low-90s but I've also seen his fastball as low as 85-86. He mixes in a curveball, cutter, and changeup, with command being a better attribute for him than pure stuff. He can be tough on left-handed hitters, but right-handers usually see him well.

Obviously no current Brewers have faced Rusin in the majors, but he has made three starts against AAA Nashville this season. He allowed a combined two runs on 13 hits over 19 innings in those games.

Here's tonight's lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart 1B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Carlos Gomez CF
Jean Segura SS
Marco Estrada P

And in the bullpen:

Mike McClendon pitched .1 innings yesterday and also pitched on Sunday.
Livan Hernandez pitched one inning (18 pitches) yesterday.
Jose Veras pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (13 pitches) yesterday.
Manny Parra pitched .2 innings (6 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched one inning (22 pitches) Sunday.
Jim Henderson and Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Saturday.

It's a nice day in Milwaukee today and the Miller Park Roof should be open. They closed it last night, though, so who knows.

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