Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Peralta) vs Giants (Zito)

Mike McGinnis

Can the Brewers touch the untouchable Barry Zito?

The Brewers are 0-2 in the games following their other 2013 wins, but they'll get a chance to improve to 1-2 tonight.

They open a homestand at 7:10 with Wily Peralta (4.50/3.86 ERA/FIP in 2013, 2.48/2.65 in 2012) making his third home start. Peralta faced the Cubs a week ago and did well, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits over 6.1 innings with two walks and five strikeouts. He was lifted after 94 pitches in a game the Brewers went on to lose 6-3.

Before his last start I mentioned to watch Peralta's velocity, and on average it was still down a bit. Brooks Baseball listed his fastball at an average speed of around 94.5 mph a week ago, and FanGraphs had it at 95.5 last season. He did reach up around 97 a few times, though. He's also throwing a fastball nearly 80% of the time this season.

Peralta has never faced the Giants in the majors. The only current Giants who have seen him before are 2012 Met Andres Torres (1-for-3) and 2012 Rockie Marco Scutaro (1-for-1).

He'll face 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito (0.00/2.74 ERA/FIP in 2013, 4.15/4.49 in 2012), whose 2013 season is off to a pretty solid start. Zito pitched seven shutout innings against the Rockies on Wednesday and allowed seven hits and a walk, striking out four. He has yet to allow an earned run in 14 innings this season.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Zito's hot start is that he's doing it with really low velocity. He throws his fastball nearly 50% of the time but it averages less than 83 mph. He was closer to the mid-to-upper 80's during his best years in the mid 2000's. Along with the fastball, he'll throw a steady mix of sliders, curves and changeups.

The Brewers faced Zito on May 23 a year ago and roughed him up to the tune of eight runs (four earned) on five hits and four walks over just three innings. Four Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Ryan Braun 18 .357 .500 1.214 1.714
Rickie Weeks 16 .231 .375 .308 .683
Alex Gonzalez 15 .308 .400 .769 1.169
Yuniesky Betancourt 13 .111 .333 .111 .444

Here are tonight's lineups:

Order Giants Pos @ Brewers Pos
1 Angel Pagan CF Norichika Aoki RF
2 Marco Scutaro 2B Jean Segura SS
3 Pablo Sandoval 3B Ryan Braun LF
4 Buster Posey C Rickie Weeks 2B
5 Hunter Pence RF Jonathan Lucroy C
6 Brandon Belt 1B Alex Gonzalez 3B
7 Gregor Blanco LF Carlos Gomez CF
8 Brandon Crawford SS
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
9 Barry Zito P Wily Peralta P

And in the bullpen:

A nice spring day in Milwaukee will turn into a cold one tonight. Expect a game-time temperature around 47 under a closed roof.

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