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Can a divided team win games in two parts of Phoenix at the same time? Or at least split?
Split-squad doubleheaders are a pretty common thing in spring training, but for some reason the Brewers only have two of them in 2013. The first one is today, as they host the Padres in Maryvale while simultaneously traveling to Goodyear to face the Reds.
We'll start with the home team (henceforth known as the "HomeBrews"), who send Hiram Burgos to the mound. Burgos might be the fastest rising prospect in the Brewer organization at this point after posting a 1.95 ERA over 28 appearances between Brevard County, Huntsville and Nashville a year ago and striking out 8.1 batters per nine innings while walking just 2.6.
Here's some of what John Sickels said about Burgos in his 2013 Baseball Prospect Book:
As you may surmise given his lack of press, he doesn't have exceptional velocity, working at 88-91 MPH. The fastball plays up, however, due to the contrast with his wide array of secondary pitches. He has a very good curveball, but also uses a changeup, cutter, and traditional slider. His pitching patterns aren't predictable and he does a good job keeping hitters off balance.
Sickels rated Burgos as a C+ prospect entering the 2013 season.
He'll face longtime Red Edinson Volquez, who is making the first spring start of his second season in San Diego. Volquez started 32 games for the Padres a year ago and posted a 4.14 ERA, making him one of just two pitchers on the team to start more than 15 games.
Volquez's Achilles heel is control: He led all of baseball with 105 walks allowed last season and has walked five or more batters per nine innings in each of his last four seasons. His fastball sits in the 92-95 range but he relies heavily on a changeup (almost 26% of all pitches in 2012) and curve (almost 25%). Statistically, the changeup has been his best pitch.
Volquez has faced the Brewers ten times during the regular season in his career, including twice last season. He posted a 4.50 ERA over 12 innings against Milwaukee in 2012, walking six and striking out eight. Taylor Green homered against him a year ago, and Corey Hart did twice.
Via Mike Vassallo, here's the HomeBrews lineup:
Meanwhile, Google Maps says it's 17.5 miles up the road to Goodyear, where the Brewers (RoadBrews) will face Armando Galarraga (6.75 ERA, 7.43 FIP in 2012) and the Reds. Galarraga is best known for throwing a near-perfect game as a Tiger in 2010 but has since been a Diamondback, Astro and now a Red. He made just five starts for Houston a year ago, but also posted a 4.12 ERA in 43.2 AAA innings.
Galarraga was a contender for AL Rookie of the Year as a Tiger in 2008, but has posted a 5.28 ERA in 67 games since. He walks around four batters per nine and strikes out less than six. FanGraphs credits him with a high-80's fastball, but says he'll throw a slider about a third of the time and also use a changeup.
Galarraga hasn't faced the Brewers in a regular season game since 2009.
He'll face Tyler Thornburg (4.50 ERA, 7.09 FIP in 2012), a veteran of eight major league appearances. Injuries pressed Thornburg into major league duty briefly in June and July a year ago, and he rejoined the team as a callup in September. He struck out 20 batters in 22 innings pitched, while walking just seven.
Thornburg's biggest challenge going forward may be limiting the home run ball. He allowed seven in his first three major league appearances, but then rebounded to allow just one more over his final ten innings. John Sickels rated him as a B prospect heading into the season.
For a road split squad game, Thornburg actually has a relatively solid Brewer lineup behind him:
The weather shouldn't be a factor today, with temperatures in the low 60's and relatively light winds out of the west.
Enjoy the games!