Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) v Pirates (McDonald)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After last night's offensive outburst, what can the Brewers do for an encore?

Last night was fun. I'd gladly take another game just like that.

That'll be the goal today when the Brewers send Marco Estrada (3.86/4.84 ERA/FIP) to the mound. Estrada is riding a streak of four consecutive quality starts, and allowed two runs (one earned) over 6.1 innings against the Padres on Wednesday, walking two and striking out three. Despite pitching in one of baseball's most homer-unfriendly environments, he allowed a home run for the fifth consecutive outing.

Talking about Yovani Gallardo's hitting yesterday seemed to get things off on the right foot, so let's discuss Estrada at the plate today. He doesn't have Gallardo's power or extended track record of success as a hitter, but he does have four doubles over 65 career at bats for a .138/.176/.200 line. He's already driven in a couple of runs this season.

Estrada was excellent against the Pirates a year ago, allowing four runs on 13 hits over a combined 19.2 innings, walking three and striking out 25. Four Pirates have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Garrett Jones 16 .188 .188 .188 .375
Andrew McCutchen 16 .250 .250 .500 .750
Pedro Alvarez 13 .231 .231 .462 .693
Neil Walker 11 .200 .273 .400 .673

He'll face 28-year-old righty James McDonald (4.38/3.80 ERA/FIP), whose middle name is "Zell." He's been pretty good lately, posting a 3.27 ERA over his last two starts after a disaster outing against the Cardinals on April 15. He pitched five innings against the Phillies on Thursday and allowed three runs on five hits, striking out four and walking three.

Last night the Brewers capitalized on Wandy Rodriguez's four first inning walks, and it's possible a patient approach could be the key to success against McDonald again tonight. He's walking 5.5 batters per nine innings over five starts this season, an uncharacteristically high number for him. He'll throw a 90 mph fastball with a steady dose of curves, along with some sliders and changeups.

The Brewers were pretty good against McDonald a year ago, roughing him up to the tune of 16 runs (12 earned) on 18 hits over 13.1 combined innings in three games. Two Brewers have faced him ten times or more: Ryan Braun is hitting .462/.500/1.000 against him and Rickie Weeks has a .364/.500/.818 line.

As of this writing tonight's lineup hasn't been posted. If you've seen it, drop it in the comments.

Alfredo Figaro and Brandon Kintzler each pitched last night but both should still be available today, as should everyone else.

It's a beautiful day in Milwaukee today, with a high in the 80's. If the Miller Park roof isn't open tonight, I'm not sure when they'll open it.

p

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