Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) @ Reds (Bailey)

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

We can disagree if you'd like, but I think the Brewers are opening a series against the Central's best team.

This is the Brewers' fifth game against the Reds in the last eight days. They still meet twice more this weekend, plus three more times in September.

At 6:10 tonight a matchup of familiar foes will begin with Homer Bailey (3.68 ERA, 3.13 FIP) on the mound. Bailey also faced the Brewers in his last start and was dominant, holding the Crew to a single run on three hits over eight innings on Sunday. He threw 119 pitches in that game despite the fact that the Reds were eight runs ahead at the end of his outing.

Bailey's 3.68 ERA is identical to the mark he posted a year ago, but you could argue he's having a better season in 2013. His strikeout rate is significantly higher than it was a year ago (8.8 per nine innings, compared to 7.3) and his walk rate is down (from 2.3 to 2.0). He's also throwing significantly harder this season, with an increase in velocity on his average fastball from 92.5 to 93.9 mph.

Including the aforementioned start on Sunday Bailey has faced the Brewers three times this year, posting a 4.79 ERA with five walks and 15 strikeouts over 20.2 innings.  Six Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Aramis Ramirez 26 20 5 0 0 0 2 4 3 .250 .385 .250 .635
Norichika Aoki 18 16 4 2 0 0 1 1 2 .250 .294 .375 .669
Jonathan Lucroy 17 16 5 0 0 1 5 1 3 .313 .353 .500 .853
Carlos Gomez 15 15 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 .133 .133 .133 .267
Juan Francisco 13 10 3 0 0 1 3 2 6 .300 .385 .600 .985
Jean Segura 10 9 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .400 .444 .844
Total 145 129 35 8 0 3 16 10 23 .271 .326 .403 .729
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.

He'll face Yovani Gallardo (4.68 ERA, 3.99 FIP) in his second start back from the DL. After missing a little more than two weeks with a hamstring injury Gallardo dominated the Reds on Saturday, shutting them out for 6.1 innings and allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out three and throwing just 82 pitches. He's a Brewer of the Week nominee for that performance.

Gallardo received an extra day of rest before this start due to Thursday's off day, and will likely get an extra day before his next start too after the Brewers are off on Monday. Assuming the Brewers don't opt to shuffle the rotation, it's possible he'll pitch on normal rest just one time in a span of five starts. Over the course of his career Gallardo has posted a 2.71 ERA in 50 starts on an extra day of rest, and a 4.04 mark when used on normal rest.

Gallardo has faced the Reds three times this season and posted a 1.65 ERA against them, walking nine and striking out 13 over 16.1 innings. Eight active Reds have faced him ten times or more:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Brandon Phillips 52 45 12 3 0 1 6 3 6 .267 .327 .400 .727
Joey Votto 41 31 8 4 0 1 10 9 4 .258 .415 .484 .899
Jay Bruce 37 34 13 3 0 2 9 2 8 .382 .432 .647 1.079
Ryan Ludwick 26 22 8 1 0 3 9 4 2 .364 .462 .818 1.280
Ryan Hanigan 23 21 6 2 0 0 0 2 2 .286 .348 .381 .729
Zack Cozart 21 19 6 0 0 1 2 1 0 .316 .350 .474 .824
Todd Frazier 13 12 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 .250 .308 .250 .558
Shin-Soo Choo 12 8 1 0 0 0 0 4 3 .125 .417 .125 .542
Total 256 222 62 15 0 8 36 26 37 .279 .359 .455 .814
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.

Tonight's lineup features Carlos Gomez for the first time in a week:

Norichika Aoki RF
Jean Segura SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Khris Davis LF
Juan Francisco 1B
Scooter Gennett 2B
Yovani Gallardo P

And in the bullpen:

The weather should not be a factor tonight. Expect a game-time temperature around 84 under partly cloudy skies with winds blowing out to right.

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