Despite a 1-5 homestand to start the season, the Brewers are 7-5 at Miller Park this season.
They'll return home tonight to face the first place Pirates with Yovani Gallardo (4.97/3.75 ERA/FIP) on the mound for the sixth time. Gallardo is working on an extra day's rest since beating the Padres on Tuesday, when he allowed three runs on eight hits over 6.2 innings. That outing would've looked better if not for three consecutive walks to end it.
Let's talk for a moment about Gallardo's hitting, shall we? His double against the Padres on Tuesday gave him 55 hits since the start of the 2009 season, which leads all major league pitchers by a relatively significant margin:
|Carlos Zambrano||Cubs, Marlins||47|
|Randy Wolf||Dodgers, Brewers, Orioles||46|
Over that same time period he also leads all pitchers in runs scored (27), doubles (14), home runs (9) and RBI (33). If he comes up with runners on and less than two outs, though, he'll almost certainly be asked to bunt.
Gallardo faced the Pirates three times a year ago and had two solid starts and a disaster. Seven of the eight earned runs he allowed to Pittsburgh came in a single start on September 2. He struck out 24 Pirates over 18.1 innings in 2012 while walking eight. Seven Pirates have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face longtime NL Central lefty Wandy Rodriguez (1.66/3.41 ERA/FIP), who is making his fifth start in his first full season as a Pirate. Rodriguez has been limited a bit this spring by a sore hamstring and missed a start at one point, but pitched 5.2 innings against the Phillies on Wednesday and allowed three runs on nine hits. The home runs he allowed in that game were the first he's given up all season.
The Pirates are 4-0 with Rodriguez on the mound this season, but that could be partially because opposing batters have hit just .200 on balls in play against him. His line drive rate is also way down, from 20.5% last season to 11.7% in 2013. He'll throw a 90 mph fastball with a lot of curves. In the past he's also mixed in a changeup but FanGraphs says he's thrown it just 1.8% of the time in 2013.
Rodriguez has faced the Brewers 24 times in his career, including 23 starts. In the Miller Park era, there are only four pitchers the Brewers have faced more:
|Wandy Rodriguez and Aaron Harang||23 each|
Three of those 23 starts came a year ago. He pitched a combined 16 innings over those appearances, allowing nine runs (seven earned for a 3.94 ERA) on 15 hits with eight walks and eleven strikeouts. Seven active Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
And in the bullpen:
- Michael Gonzalez pitched one inning (15 pitches) yesterday.
- Jim Henderson pitched one inning (23 pitches) on Saturday.
- John Axford pitched one inning (15 pitches) on Saturday.
- Tom Gorzelanny pitched one inning (12 pitches) on Saturday.
- Burke Badenhop and Brandon Kintzler last pitched on Friday.
- Alfredo Figaro is considering purchasing Monaco so he'll have something to do tonight.
The forecast for tonight's game calls for temperatures in the low 60's, which is good, but scattered thunderstorms, which is bad. At this point I'm calling the roof a toss-up.