Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Rogers) vs Pirates (Karstens)

August 26, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Mark Rogers (37) throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The new Bob Uecker statue outside is firmly in place, so it's time to get back to baseball.

The Brewers resume play tonight with Mark Rogers (4.28 ERA, 3.67 FIP) on the mound, making career major league start #9. He's facing the Pirates for the second consecutive start, and held them scoreless over five innings on Sunday on three runs and three walks. He threw 101 pitches in that game.

It'll be interesting to see Rogers' velocity tonight, as it was down a bit in Pittsburgh over the weekend but it's possible that was due to a slow radar gun. Rogers is in unprecedented territory innings-wise, so if his velocity doesn't bounce back tonight it could be a cause for concern.

As mentioned above, Rogers pitched five shutout innings against the Pirates on Sunday. No current Pirate has faced him more than three times.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are quite familiar with Jeff Karstens (3.47 ERA, 3.22 FIP), although it's possible they've never seen him pitch this well. Karstens' strikeout rate (6.3 per nine innings), walk rate (1.6 per nine) and FIP (3.22) are career bests. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Brewers on Saturday, throwing just 83 pitches.

Karstens has never really been a great major league pitcher, but lately he has been throwing strikes. He's walked just 13 batters over his last ten starts and posted a 2.73 ERA over that time. Among NL pitchers that have thrown at least 80 innings this season, only five have shown better control:

Pitcher Team BB/9
Cliff Lee Phillies 1.39
Roy Halladay Phillies 1.44
Bronson Arroyo Reds 1.54
Joe Blanton Phillies/Dodgers 1.56
Wade Miley Diamondbacks 1.59
Jeff Karstens Pirates 1.63

Karstens has faced the Brewers 12 times in his career, including nine times as a starter and once this season. Five Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Ryan Braun 28 .240 .321 .600 .921
Rickie Weeks 24 .167 .167 .542 .708
Corey Hart 23 .091 .130 .136 .267
Aramis Ramirez 16 .438 .438 .875 1.313
Nyjer Morgan 10 .400 .400 .400 .800

I wrote this post in advance because by the time you read it I'll be on my way to tonight's game. As of this writing the lineup hadn't been posted, so please drop it in the comments if you've seen it.

In the bullpen:

Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (14 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Wednesday.
Livan Hernandez pitched 1.1 innings (40 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched .1 innings (27 pitches) yesterday.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (21 pitches) yesterday.
Jose Veras pitched 1.1 innings (18 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched one inning (14 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe last pitched on Monday.

It's going to be a beautiful night for baseball in Milwaukee tonight, with a game time temperature around 75. The Miller Park roof should be open.

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