Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) @ Cardinals (Lohse)

April 27, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (49) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

PROGRAMMING NOTE: In addition to tonight's Brewer game, we'll also be covering Game 3 of Wisconsin's first round Midwest League playoff series in the Timber Rattlers Notebook. The game starts at 6:35, and we'll have a pregame post up in the FanPosts before 6. - KL

The Brewers are 1-5 in St. Louis this year, and have won just one of their last five series there since the start of the 2011 season.

Hopefully they can get this series off to a good start with Yovani Gallardo (3.79 ERA, 4.00 FIP) on the mound, as he could use a bounceback performance. He needed 119 pitches to get through 4.2 innings against the Pirates on Sunday and allowed seven runs on eleven hits and four walks. Both the hits and pitch count in that game were season-highs.

Gallardo has allowed five home runs in his last three starts and 17 in his last 17 outings (1.4 per nine innings) after giving up just two in a span of ten starts in April and May. He's still carrying a 3.54 ERA and striking out 9.5 batters per nine during the aforementioned 17 start streak, though, so perhaps giving up a few long fly balls in exchange for the strikeouts isn't a bad deal.

Gallardo faced the Cardinals twice in April and was roughed up on both occasions, allowing 14 runs on 15 hits over 5.2 innings. That's not really unusual, as Gallardo has a 7.05 career ERA in 13 starts against St. Louis. Seven current Cardinals have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Lance Berkman 40 .267 .450 .300 .750
Yadier Molina 34 .269 .441 .615 1.057
Matt Holliday 28 .261 .393 .739 1.132
Jon Jay 22 .250 .250 .450 .700
Skip Schumaker 22 .238 .273 .429 .701
David Freese 16 .467 .500 .800 1.300
Carlos Beltran 11 .556 .636 .889 1.525

Gallardo will face Kyle Lohse (2.81 ERA, 3.63 FIP), who is having a career year in his 12th major league season. He has a career 4.47 ERA but has been a full run and a half better than that this year while also being on pace to throw over 200 innings for just the third time. He did, however, get roughed up by the Nationals on Saturday and allowed eight runs (five earned) on nine hits over 5.2 innings.

The biggest difference between Lohse in previous years and 2012 may be his control. Over the course of his career he's been walking around 2.6 batters per nine innings but that number has dropped all the way to 1.6 in 2012. He hasn't walked a batter in his last 17.2 innings of work dating all the way back to August 16.

Lohse has already beaten the Brewers twice this season, on April 28 and August 5. He allowed a combined three runs on ten hits over 12 innings in those games, walking seven and striking out eleven. Seven current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Ryan Braun 39 .270 .308 .514 .821
Rickie Weeks 37 .281 .378 .313 .691
Aramis Ramirez 25 .391 .440 .783 1.223
Corey Hart 23 .174 .174 .261 .435
Nyjer Morgan 14 .364 .385 .455 .839
Jonathan Lucroy 13 .273 .385 .364 .748
Carlos Gomez 12 .300 .417 .500 .917

Here's tonight's lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Corey Hart 1B
Taylor Green 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Martin Maldonado C
Jeff Bianchi SS
Yovani Gallardo P

In the bullpen:

Brandon Kintzler pitched 1.1 innings (22 pitches) yesterday.
Livan Hernandez pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (8 pitches) yesterday.
Josh Stinson pitched .1 innings (3 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched one inning (22 pitches) Wednesday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (13 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched .1 innings (10 pitches) Wednesday.
Jim Henderson pitched .2 innings (3 pitches) Wednesday.
Jose Veras last pitched on Tuesday.
Tyler Thornburg last pitched on Sunday for Nashville.

There's a strong chance that weather will be a factor in tonight's game. As of this writing St. Louis is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10 pm, with rain expected to start falling during the 7 o'clock hour. The rain should eventually pass, but don't be surprised if this one becomes a doubleheader tomorrow or Sunday.

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