Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Peralta) @ Cardinals (Garcia)


This 1-6 road trip may be sinking the Brewers' season, but a good series this weekend could at least knock their rivals down a bit.

There are really only so many ways to say "this Brewer team only has two wins in May."

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to stop thinking of new ones after the Brewers are done with Jaime Garcia (2.88/3.38 ERA/FIP) and the Cardinals. Garcia got knocked around a bit by the Rockies on Sunday, allowing five runs on eight hits over six innings. The home runs he allowed in that game were the first he had given up in over 30 innings.

The challenge in facing Garcia is that he's unlikely to beat himself. His strikeout rate is down a little this season but he's walking just 2.5 batters per nine innings and throwing first pitch strikes almost 70% of the time. His fastball sits in the upper 80's and he'll throw a cutter nearly 25% of the time.

Garcia has already pitched 15 innings this season and allowed just one run over that time, Eight Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Ryan Braun 40 .282 .300 .513 .813
Rickie Weeks 37 .233 .378 .400 .778
Carlos Gomez 29 .276 .276 .414 .690
Jonathan Lucroy 29 .276 .276 .310 .586
Aramis Ramirez 19 .222 .263 .278 .541
Yuniesky Betancourt 16 .313 .313 .500 .813
Alex Gonzalez 11 .091 .091 .364 .455
Norichika Aoki 10 .200 .200 .300 .500

He'll face Wily Peralta (5.40/4.58 ERA/FIP), who at least is getting a chance to learn at the major league level, I guess. Peralta pitched six innings against the Reds on Sunday and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, walking two and striking out three.

The most concerning thing about Peralta's early struggles this season has to be his relative lack of strikeouts. He's punched out just 23 batters over 45 innings this season, as compared to 23 over 29 major league innings a year ago. His walk rate, meanwhile, is about the same (3.4 per nine in 2012, 3.2 in 2013).

The Cardinals singled Peralta to death on May 2, knocking in six runs on eleven hits (all singles) over 4.1 innings. No current Cardinals have faced him ten times or more.

As of this writing I haven't seen today's lineup. If you have, please drop it in the comments.

And in the bullpen:

At least it should be a nice night in St. Louis tonight. Expect a game-time temperature in the low 70's.
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