This Morning's Matchup: Brewers (Hand) @ Nationals (Jordan)

Jim McIsaac

Declare your independence from your other responsibilities and spend the morning of the Fourth of July watching the Brewers go for a road series win.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I think it might have gone without saying that there won't be a Mug before a 10 am start on Independence Day. But if it didn't, there you go. - KL

Most places don't have fireworks until tonight, but maybe the Brewers can give us an early display today.

After taking two of three, at 10:05 am (!) today the Brewers will take on rookie Taylor Jordan (2.08 ERA, 4.67 IP) and the Nationals with the series on the line. Jordan is making just his second major league start and debuted against the Mets on Saturday, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits over 4.1 innings. He walked two and struck out one in that game.

Today is only Taylor's eleventh professional appearance above High-A ball. He opened the season with Potomac in the Carolina League and was promoted to AA in May, where he posted an 0.83 ERA in just 54 innings. In his last start he relied pretty heavily on his low-90's fastball, but also threw a changeup and slider.

Of course, no Brewers have faced Taylor before.

Taylor is perhaps the experience opposite of Donovan Hand (2.63 ERA, 3.47 FIP), who has appeared at the AA level or above in every season since 2008. He's making his third major league start today, and his first since holding the Pirates to two runs on five hits over five innings on Saturday. He walked two and struck out none in that outing.

Hand's big league success to this point can be largely tied to a single fact: He throws strikes. He's given out just three free passes over 24 innings in the majors, and just 1 in 18.2 innings in June (when he posted a 1.93 ERA). His fastball sits around 90 but he relies pretty heavily on a curveball and slider.

Hand has, of course, never faced the Nationals in the majors. The Brewers and Nats also do not have affiliates in the same leagues at any full season level in the minors, so everyone is getting their first look at him today.

Here's today's lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Jean Segura SS
Carlos Gomez CF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Juan Francisco 3B
Sean Halton 1B
Logan Schafer LF
Jeff Bianchi 2B
Donovan Hand P

Meanwhile, Kyle Lohse's long outing last night probably did wonders for the bullpen:

It's going to be a hot day in Washington today, but the Brewers and Nats will miss the worst of it. Expect a game-time temperature around 82 with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing out to left and center.

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