Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Peralta) v. Rockies (Nicasio)


Can the Brewers win their first series of 2013?

The Brewers went 106-56 at Miller Park combined in 2011 and 2012, which is roughly two wins out of every three games.

If they're going to keep that pace up tonight they'll need a strong outing from Wily Peralta (5.40 ERA this spring, 2.48/2.65 ERA/FIP in 2012), who is on an Opening Day major league roster for the first time in 2013. Peralta, the #1 prospect in the Brewer organization, made five starts this spring and pitched 4.1 innings against the White Sox on Friday, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits.

Peralta is still only 23 this spring, but his track record as a professional would suggest he's ready to handle the workload of a full major league season in 2013. He threw 175.2 innings between AAA Nashville and the Brewers last season, up from 150.2 in 2011 and 147.1 in 2010. His fastball was still clocking in the middle 90's last September.

Peralta faced the Rockies in his major league debut last April, pitching an inning in relief and allowing a run on three hits with a strikeout. Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez each had hits off him in that game.

He'll face fellow Dominican righty Juan Nicasio (4.87 ERA this spring, 5.28/3.99 ERA/FIP in 2012), and the fact that Nicasio is even able to throw off a mound makes him an incredible story. You may recall that Nicasio was pitching for the Rockies in 2011 when he was hit in the head by a line drive, fell down and fractured a vertebrae in his neck. He returned to the Rockies last year and made eleven appearances before injuring his knee in June and missing the rest of the season again. He made six appearances this spring, though, including a start against the Brewers on March 24. He pitched five innings in that game and allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikouts.

Nicasio posted a high ERA a year ago before getting injured but the numbers would suggest luck was a factor. Opponents batted .376 on balls in play against him in 2012, up from .304 in 2011. Surprisingly, he's also been better in 14 career starts at home (4.30 ERA) than in ten starts on the road (5.11 ERA).

The Brewers haven't faced Nicasio since 2011, when he worked seven scoreless innings against them. The current Brewers that have seen him before are a combined 1-for-17 against him, with Alex Gonzalez providing the lone single.

Tonight's lineup features the 2013 debut of the last Brewer who hasn't appeared in a game:

Order Rockies Pos @ Brewers Pos
1 Eric Young Jr. RF Norichika Aoki RF
2 Dexter Fowler CF Rickie Weeks 2B
3 Carlos Gonzalez LF Ryan Braun LF
4 Troy Tulowitzki SS Aramis Ramirez 3B
5 Wilin Rosario C Alex Gonzalez 1B
6 Jordan Pacheco 1B Martin Maldonado C
7 Josh Rutledge 2B Carlos Gomez CF
8 Reid Brignac 3B Jean Segura SS
9 Juan Nicasio P Wily Peralta P

In the bullpen:

It still doesn't feel much like spring in Milwaukee, and that certainly won't change after the sun goes down. Expect a game time temperature around 36 and a closed roof at Miller Park.

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