The Brewers, who have won an average of once every 5.5 days or so in 2013, have now gone three and a half days or so without a win. Can they raise the average slightly with a victory tonight?
They'll get a chance to do just that against Shelby Miller (3.38/6.32 ERA/FIP in 2013, 1.32/1.85 in 2012), who is making just his third major league start. Miller pitched 5.1 innings against the Giants on Saturday and allowed two runs on four hits, walking four and striking out four.
Miller is still only 22 and was the Cardinals' first round pick in the 2009 draft. Before the season John Sickels rated Miller as an A prospect in his 2013 prospect book, although he did note rumors about off-the-field issues that "should resolve with age." He throws a low-90's fastball and a lot of curves.
Miller has never faced the Brewers in the majors, but did make three appearances with mixed results against AAA Nashville last season.
He'll face longtime Cardinal and new Brewer Kyle Lohse (1.50/1.47 ERA/FIP in 2013, 2.86/3.51 in 2012), who could possibly be at full strength for the first time this season. Despite making just one Cactus League start Lohse threw 87 pitches against the Diamondbacks a week ago and allowed a run on five hits, walking none and striking out five.
Last week it seemed like Diamondbacks hitters were happy to take strikes to raise Lohse's pitch count, which led to some significant strikeouts. It's worth noting that that's not the norm: Lohse averaged just 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings a year ago and only had five games where he struck out more than five. FanGraphs says his fastball velocity was roughly normal against the Diamondbacks, but more than a third of all of his pitches were changeups.
Lohse was a member of the Cardinals from 2008-12, so he hasn't faced them in a game since he was a Red in 2007. Three Cardinals have faced him ten times or more, though, and they've all had success:
And today's lineups:
|1||Norichika Aoki||RF||Jon Jay||CF|
|2||Jean Segura||SS||Matt Carpenter||2B|
|3||Ryan Braun||LF||Matt Holliday||LF|
|4||Rickie Weeks||2B||Allen Craig||1B|
|5||Jonathan Lucroy||C||Carlos Beltran||RF|
|6||Alex Gonzalez||3B||Yadier Molina||C|
|7||Carlos Gomez||CF||David Freese||3B|
|8||Yuniesky Betancourt||1B||Pete Kozma||SS|
|9||Kyle Lohse||P||Shelby Miller||P|
And in the bullpen:
- Mike Gonzalez, John Axford and Alfredo Figaro last pitched on Tuesday.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Brandon Kintzler and Jim Henderson last pitched on Monday.
- Burke Badenhop last pitched on Sunday.
- Mike Fiers last pitched on Saturday.