Today's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) vs Rockies (Chacin)

Joe Robbins

Finally, a game that counts.

For the fourth consecutive season the Brewers open the year with Yovani Gallardo (3.54 ERA this spring, 3.66/3.94 ERA/FIP in 2012) on the mound. Gallardo bounced back from a slow start to have a pretty nice spring, allowing just two runs (one earned) on six hits over his last 11.2 innings with five walks and six strikeouts. He pitched 6.1 innings against the Royals on Wednesday in his last outing.

It'll be interesting today to watch Gallardo work with Jonathan Lucroy, because that wasn't a frequent occurrence a year ago. Martin Maldonado caught 19 of Gallardo's 33 appearances last season and the two posted a 3.31 ERA when paired together. Lucroy caught Gallardo 13 times (including three starts in September) and Gallardo had a 4.46 ERA in those outings.

Gallardo faced the Rockies one time last season, receiving a no decision on April 22. He pitched seven innings in that contest and allowed a run on six hits in a game the Brewers went on to lose 4-1. Four current Rockies have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Todd Helton 20 .375 .500 .500 1.000
Troy Tulowitzki 19 .389 .421 .611 1.032
Michael Cuddyer 16 .231 .375 .308 .683
Carlos Gonzalez 14 .357 .357 .500 .857

He'll face 25-year-old Venezuelan righthander Jhoulys Chacin (8.44 ERA this spring, 4.43/5.15 ERA/FIP in 2012), who is making his first career Opening Day start. Chacin started five games this spring but only completed five innings one time, on Wednesday when the A's roughed him up to the tune of six runs on ten hits over five innings. He allowed four home runs but only four walks while striking out ten in 16 innings this spring.

Chacin pitched just 69 innings a year ago and was out from May until late August with a torn pectoral muscle. He was also scratched from a spring training start with back spasms a couple of weeks ago, so health has been a concern for him. When he's healthy his fastball sits around 90 and he'll throw a steady mix of sliders, changeups and the occasional curve. He hasn't thrown more than 85 pitches in a major league game since before his pec injury last May.

Chacin last faced the Brewers on April 20 of 2012 and provided a quality start, allowing three runs on four hits over seven innings in a game the Rockies went on to win 4-3. The only current Brewer with ten or more plate appearances against him is Aramis Ramirez, who is 5-for-12 with two doubles and a home run for a .417/.462/.833 line.

Here are today's lineups:

Order Rockies Pos @ Brewers Pos
1 Dexter Fowler CF Norichika Aoki RF
2 Josh Rutledge 2B Rickie Weeks 2B
3 Carlos Gonzalez LF Ryan Braun LF
4 Troy Tulowitzki SS Aramis Ramirez 3B
5 Michael Cuddyer RF Jonathan Lucroy C
6 Todd Helton !B Alex Gonzalez 1B
7 Wilin Rosario C Carlos Gomez CF
8 Chris Nelson 3B Jean Segura SS
9 Jhoulys Chacin P Yovani Gallardo P

And in the bullpen:

  • Tom Gorzelanny pitched one inning (21 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (17 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • John Axford pitched one inning (16 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Chris Narveson pitched one inning (16 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Michael Gonzalez pitched one inning (14 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Jimmy Henderson pitched one inning (11 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Brandon Kintzler pitched 1.2 innings (25 pitches) against the White Sox on Friday.
  • Alfredo Figaro pitched .1 innings (24 pitches) against the White Sox on Friday.

It's a cold, windy day to drink outside in Milwaukee, with a projected game-time temperature around 35. It'll be a beautiful day for baseball inside Miller Park, though, where the roof will be closed.

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