Game Preview/Thread #-22: Brewers (6-6) v. Rangers (4-7)

John Steinmiller, via Instagram

Revenge is on the line today as Doug Melvin and his new team (of a decade or so) take on his former employer.

Weather update: There's a strong chance of rain in Phoenix today, so it's possible today's game could get rained out. As of this writing there has not been an announcement.

Broadcast information: Assuming today's game goes on as scheduled, it can be heard on WTMJ at 2 with Bob Uecker and Joe Block.

Entering play today the Yankees, Blue Jays, Braves, Reds, Angels, Rangers, Giants and Dodgers are all under .500 in spring play and the Brewers are not. Take that, likely contenders.

The Brewers host Texas in Maryvale today and will do so with Tyler Thornburg (9.00 ERA this spring, 4.50 ERA/7.09 ERA/FIP in 2012) on the mound. Thornburg is making his third appearance and second start of the spring, and his first since pitching two innings in relief against the Angels on Saturday. He allowed two runs on two hits and three walks over two innings in that game, and also struck out two.

Thornburg only pitched 134.2 innings between Huntsville, Nashville and Milwaukee a year ago, so it's probably safe to assume the Brewers will try to build him up slowly and keep his inning count down in the early part of 2013. There's a strong chance the team will need him at some point if a starter gets injured or is ineffective, and it'd be a shame to bring him up to the majors only to have to shut him down late in the year.

Thornburg has, as you might expect, never faced the Rangers in the regular season. He did face their AAA affiliate at Round Rock once, though, and allowed three runs on three hits over five innings on August 23.

He'll face 26-year-old former Cub lefty Jeff Beliveau (0.00 ERA this spring, 4.58/7.06 ERA/FIP in 2012), who the Rangers claimed off waivers in December. This is Beliveau's fourth spring appearance but his first start. He pitched a scoreless inning against the Mariners on Sunday, allowing two hits and striking out one.

Beliveau is left handed but got rocked by lefties in a small major league sample size a year ago. He pitched to 30 left-handed batters in 2012 and allowed them to hit .360/.467/.760 with three home runs. He's been much better against them in the minors over the last two years, though, allowing just a .227/.262/.305 line. He'll throw a low-90's fastball along with a changeup, curve and cutter.

Beliveau faced the Brewers in relief on August 20 of last season and allowed two runs on two hits while recording just one out. Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy both homered off him in that game.

Here's today's lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Jean Segura SS
Carlos Gomez CF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Alex Gonzalez 3B
Khris Davis DH
Logan Schafer LF
Bobby Crosby 1B
Robinzon Diaz C

This lineup is probably subject to change due to the weather. Don't expect to see many regulars today if the field is wet or conditions difficult: There's no reason to risk someone's health for a Cactus League game.

Enjoy the (potential) game!

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