Today's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) @ Cubs (Jackson)

Mike McGinnis

Will heading out on the road cure what ails the 2013 Brewers?

Today the Brewers open their first of three road series at Wrigley Field. They're there in April when it's cold, July when it's hot and September when, at current pace, neither team will be relevant anymore.

Today they'll face Edwin Jackson (3.60/1.60 ERA/FIP in 2013, 4.03/3.85 ERA/FIP in 2012) in his second start as a Cub. Jackson picked up the loss in his Cubs debut on Wednesday, allowing two runs on three hits over five innings. He threw 92 pitches in that game.

2013 is Jackson's eleventh major league season and the Cubs are his eighth team, but he's likely to be there for a while. He signed a four-year, $52 million contract over the winter that will keep him in Chicago through his age 23 season. He throws a low-90's fastball and a heavy dose of sliders (37% of all pitches) to go with an occasional changeup and curve.

Jackson was excellent against the Brewers as a National in 2012, making two starts and holding them to a single run on 14 hits over 15 innings. He walked two and struck out 15 in those games. Four Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Yuniesky Betancourt 29 .222 .241 .259 .501
Ryan Braun 24 .304 .333 .522 .855
Jonathan Lucroy 15 .400 .400 .800 1.200
Rickie Weeks 13 .417 .462 1.250 1.712

He'll face Marco Estrada (7.20/5.00 ERA/FIP in 2013, 3.65/3.35 ERA/FIP in 2012), who is coming off a very Marco Estrada outing. He pitched five innings on Tuesday and allowed four runs on nine hits (including a pair of home runs), while striking out eight but allowing no walks.

Those home run issues, high strikeout totals and low walks are a perfect, if slightly exaggerated, glimpse of the kind of season Estrada had in 2012. He struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings last season while walking just 1.9, but allowed better than one home run per nine too. FanGraphs says his average fastball velocity dipped into the upper 80's on Tuesday after being in the low 90's last season.

Estrada faced the Cubs four times a year ago, making three starts and a relief appearance. He allowed a combined five runs (two earned) on 13 hits over 18 innings for a 1.00 ERA, walking six while striking out 22. Alfonso Soriano is the only Cub who has faced Estrada ten times or more, and he's 3-for-9 with three doubles and a walk.

Lineup:

RF Aoki
CF Gomez
LF Braun
2B Weeks
C Lucroy
SS Gonzalez
1B Maldonado
3B Betancourt
P Estrada

Enjoy the game!

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