Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Lohse) v Giants (Vogelsong)

Mike McGinnis

Can the Brewers clinch their first series victory of 2013?

Don't look now, but the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers are winners of two straight and are back in action at home tonight.

Tonight they'll trot out their biggest offseason acquisition as Kyle Lohse (2.08/3.01 ERA/FIP in 2013, 2.86/3.51 in 2012) takes the mound as a Brewer for the third time. Lohse made a strong argument for the irrelevance of spring training when he pitched seven innings against the Cardinals on Friday, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts. He only threw 82 pitches in that outing.

Two of the best things you can say about Lohse are that he eats innings and throws strikes. He pitched at least seven innings in 14 of his 33 appearances a year ago, but threw more than 87 pitches in all of them. So his last start is probably his most efficient since he went eight innings on just 90 pitches as a Cardinal back in June of 2011.

Lohse has made five starts against the Giants in his career, but only one since 2008. Three current Giants have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Hunter Pence 53 .275 .302 .353 .655
Marco Scutaro 20 .350 .350 .400 .750
Angel Pagan 12 .455 .417 .545 .962

He'll face 35-year-old righty Ryan Vogelsong (7.15/3.08 ERA/FIP in 2013, 3.37/3.70 in 2012), who has gotten knocked around a bit in his first two 2013 appearances. He pitched six innings against the Cubs on Thursday and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits, walking one and striking out five. He's allowed 17 hits in his 11.1 innings this season.

Vogelsong's peripheral numbers suggest a potential mixture of bad luck and bad pitching for his early struggles. Opposing batters are hitting .410 on balls in play against him, but that's propped up a bit by a nearly 26% line drive rate. Nearly 41% of the balls in play against him have been hit in the air, but it's also worth noting that 23.1% of the grounders hit against him become infield hits. His velocity is also down, with his average fastball clocking in around 89 mph after sitting at 91 a year ago.

The Brewers didn't face Vogelsong in the regular season in 2012, but they did see him this spring when he worked six scoreless innings against them on March 20. No Brewers have faced him ten times or more during the regular season.

As of this writing I have yet to see tonight's lineups. If you have, please drop them in the comments.

And in the bullpen:

As it rains outside in Milwaukee, be glad for the Miller Park roof tonight. It'll be closed as the rest of the city endures high-30's temperatures and a possible thunderstorm.
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