At 7:10 tonight Johnny Hellweg (20.25 ERA, 4.94 FIP) will take the mound for his third big league appearance. Hellweg was roughed up in his first major league start on June 28, allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits over 1.2 innings. Then, with the Brewer bullpen depleted earlier this week, he was called upon to pitch an inning in relief on Monday and allowed two more runs.
After his last start Ron Roenicke told reporters he planned to have a talk with Hellweg about aggressiveness. 26 of the 52 pitches he threw in his MLB debut were strikes. He improved that figure to 16 out of 26 in his relief outing earlier this week, so that's a positive step. He also reached 98.99 mph on the radar gun in relief on Monday, which by itself will be enough to generate some extra opportunities for him.
Hellweg has, of course, never faced the Mets in the majors. He also has not faced AAA Las Vegas, the Mets affiliate in the Pacific Coast League.
He'll face 23-year-old righty Zack Wheeler (5.06 ERA, 5.94 FIP), who is making major league start #4. Wheeler was the #6 overall pick in the 2009 draft, came from San Francisco to New York in the 2011 Carlos Beltran deal and was ranked by Baseball America as the #11 prospect in all of baseball before this season. He lost to the Nationals on Sunday, allowing five runs on six hits over 4.2 innings.
Wheeler's early MLB work suggests that patience may be the key for the Brewers tonight. He's walked ten opposing batters over 16 innings in the majors and around four per nine innings in four minor league seasons. He'll throw a mid-90's fastball with a slider, curve and occasionally a changeup.
Wheeler has, of course, never faced the Brewers before. He also did not pitch against Nashville this season as a member of the Las Vegas 51s.
As of this writing tonight's lineups have not been posted. If you've seen them, please drop them in the comments.
And in the bullpen:
- Brandon Kintzler pitched 1.1 innings (22 pitches) yesterday.
- Tom Gorzelanny pitched 1.2 innings (20 pitches) yesterday.
- Burke Badenhop faced four batters (12 pitches) yesterday.
- Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (22 pitches) on Wednesday.
- Michael Gonzalez, Jim Henderson and John Axford last pitched on Tuesday.
- Tyler Thornburg last pitched on Sunday.
It's going to be a beautiful night for baseball in Milwaukee tonight. Expect a game-time temperature around 78 under partly cloudy skies with winds blowing in from right field.