Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) @ Pirates (Rodriguez)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Brewers clinch a split against a division rival?

The Brewers are 8-12 against the NL Central this season, and roughly .500 (8-9) against everyone else.

They'll get a chance to improve their record against their home division tonight when they face Wandy Rodriguez (3.62/4.81 ERA/FIP) and the Pirates. Rodriguez has pitched a pair of quality starts so far in May, including six innings of one-run ball against the Mets on Friday.

Rodriguez has been somewhat all-or-nothing this season, including a single start against the Brewers. He's pitched four quality starts in seven outings (and missed a fifth by a single out), but has also had an outing where he left due to injury after just seven outs and a disaster against the Brewers on April 29. He's also allowed seven home runs in his last four starts after going three starts without one to open the year.

As mentioned above, Rodriguez faced the Brewers on April 29 and got lit up, allowing seven runs on six hits and four walks over 3.2 innings. Nine Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Aramis Ramirez 53 .392 .396 .588 .984
Rickie Weeks 51 .293 .431 .439 .870
Ryan Braun 48 .381 .458 .810 1.268
Carlos Gomez 30 .138 .167 .172 .339
Alex Gonzalez 23 .087 .087 .087 .174
Yuniesky Betancourt 19 .158 .158 .158 .316
Jonathan Lucroy 16 .214 .250 .500 .750
Norichika Aoki 13 .333 .385 .667 1.051
Yovani Gallardo 10 .250 .300 .750 1.050

He'll face familiar foe Yovani Gallardo (4.70/3.91 ERA/FIP), who could really use a strong start to get out of his recent woes. He really struggled against the Reds on Friday, allowing three runs on five hits and five walks and pitching just four innings, needing 100 pitches to get there.

Slow starts have become something of the norm for Gallardo, who also had a 5.04 ERA after eight starts last season. Here's a quick look at how those two seasons compare:

Season ERA IP/Start BB/9 K/9 HR/9
2012 5.04 5.2 4.43 9.07 1.01
2013 4.70 5.2 3.13 6.07 0.78

Gallardo was effective against the Pirates on April 29, allowing two runs (one earned) on just three hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out five. Seven Pirates have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Garrett Jones 29 .238 .448 .238 .686
Andrew McCutchen 28 .259 .286 .444 .730
Gaby Sanchez 20 .368 .400 .632 1.032
Clint Barmes 19 .059 .158 .059 .217
Pedro Alvarez 18 .000 .167 .000 .167
Jose Tabata 12 .400 .500 .500 1.000
Neil Walker 12 .364 .417 .364 .780

As of this writing I have not seen tonight's lineups. If you have, please drop them in the comments.

And in the bullpen:

  • Jim Henderson pitched one inning (eleven pitches) last night, and also pitched on Monday.
  • Brandon Kintzler pitched .2 innings (eight pitches) last night, and also pitched on Monday.
  • Alfredo Figaro pitched two innings (29 pitches) last night.
  • John Axford pitched one inning (21 pitches) last night.
  • Mike Gonzalez pitched .1 innings (six pitches) last night.
  • Burke Badenhop pitched .1 innings (five pitches) last night.
  • Mike Fiers faced one batter (six pitches) last night.

It's hot in Pittsburgh today, but should turn into a nice night for baseball. Expect a game-time temperature around 78 under partly cloudy skies, and winds blowing out of the west (out to left field).

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