The last time James McDonald (12-6, 3.57) faced the Brewers, he came into the game with a 2.37 ERA and was in the midst of a big breakout season. His last game against Milwaukee, on July 17, he allowed four earned runs in 4.2 innings, starting a downward spiral. He gave up five or more earned runs in three of his next four starts and has a 6.24 ERA since that date.
McDonald has shown improvement lately, however. Two of his last three starts have seen him not give up an earned run though he allowed four earned runs in the third start. During each of the shutout starts, he gave up just two hits. Overall on the season McDonald has a 7.98 K/9 and a 3.45 BB/9, with a 3.74 FIP.
McDonald throws four pitches, primarily: A 92 MPH four seamer (42%), a 92 MPH two seamer (20%), a 76 MPH curveball (19%), and an 80 MPH slider (16%). He has faced four Brewers at least ten times. Here is how they have fared:
For the Brewers, Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.52) will take the mound. Ever since an awful 7 ER start against on July 26 against the Nationals, Gallardo has been absolutely fantastic. He has made six starts, all at least seven innings. Four of those six starts have seen him give up four or fewer hits while he has allowed just one earned run in four of the starts and has not given up more than three earned in any of start. Over that span, he has just a 1.90 ERA and has an opponent OPS of 5.84.
Gallardo has faced four Pirates hitters at least ten times. Here is how they have fared:
In the bullpen:
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (18 pitches) yesterday and has pitched three straight days.
Jose Veras pitched 1.1 innings (18 pitches) Thursday and 1 inning (28 pitches) Friday.
Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (14 pitches) Thursday.
Livan Hernandez pitched 1.1 innings (40 pitches) Thursday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched .1 innings (27 pitches) Thursday.