I think the best word to use to describe tonight's game is "overmatched."
Tonight Alfredo Figaro (3.67 ERA, 5.22 FIP) will make just his sixth major league start for the Brewers, and his second of the 2013 season. He last pitched on Sunday, throwing 3.1 innings of scoreless relief on just 28 pitches with two walks and two strikeouts. He also only needed 28 pitches to record ten outs in that game.
Here's a little more evidence that the radar gun in Philadelphia last weekend may have been a little hot: They show Figaro's velocity as maxing out at 99.4 mph in his appearance on Sunday. FanGraphs suggests he sits closer to 95, which would still be up significantly from the 92 or so he averaged in a small sample size as a Tiger in 2009-10.
Figaro's long relief outing against the Phillies on Sunday was the only time he's faced them in his career. No current Phillies have faced him ten times or more.
He's got a tough task ahead of him as he faces perennial Cy Young contender Cliff Lee (2.45 ERA, 2.60 FIP), who has been dominant to this point in 2013. His 0.962 WHIP in 2013 would be the second lowest of his 12 year major league career. He pitched 7.2 innings against the Brewers on Saturday and allowed three runs on seven hits, walking none and striking out a season-high eleven.
Brewer fans are likely keenly aware of the value of a pitcher who can work deep into games, and that's what the Phillies have with Lee. He's gone seven innings or more in ten of his 12 starts this season, and eight innings or more five times. Lee is also an excellent strike-thrower: He led all of baseball by walking just 1.2 batters per nine innings last season and is right around that pace again in 2013.
As mentioned earlier, Lee beat the Brewers on Sunday by holding them to three runs on seven hits over 7.2 innings, walking none and striking out eleven. Seven Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
The Brewers that have faced Lee before are hitting a combined .261/.286/.521 against him with ten home runs in 142 at bats, which is actually a pretty remarkable line against one of the game's top pitchers.
As of this writing tonight's lineup has not been posted. If you've seen it, please drop it in the comments.
Meanwhile, in the bullpen:
- Donovan Hand pitched two innings (28 pitches) last night.
- Burke Badenhop pitched two innings (20 pitches) last night.
- Tyler Thornburg pitched two innings (31 pitches) on Wednesday.
- Michael Gonzalez pitched one inning (13 pitches) on Wednesday.
- John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez and Brandon Kintzler last pitched on Tuesday.
It's not the nicest night in Milwaukee tonight, but it should be dry. Expect a game-time temperature around 60 under a closed roof at Miller Park.