One of the nice things about baseball is that nothing is ever truly predictable. With that said, though, tonight's game doesn't look promising.
At 9:15 tonight the Giants will send Madison Bumgarner (2.69 ERA, 3.07 FIP) to the mound to attempt to continue his best MLB season. He's been excellent lately, and allowed a single run on seven hits over seven innings against the Rays on Friday, walking three and striking out eleven. Bumgarner has pitched seven innings or more and allowed two earned runs or less in nine consecutive starts. That's the longest streak in the majors since Pedro Martinez did it in 13 straight games in 1999-2000.
If you ever find yourself preparing to face Bumgarner, make sure you're ready to see lots of sliders. He throws the high-80's pitch almost 40% of the time, more often than he throws his low-90's fastball. He also has a curve and changeup. FanGraphs says his slider is worth roughly 1.6 runs per 100 pitches, which makes it one of the best pitches of its kind in baseball.
This is the first time the Brewers have faced Bumgarner in 2013, but he has a 1.25 ERA in five starts against them from 2010-12. Rickie Weeks is the only active Brewer who has faced him ten times or more, and he's hitting .353/.389/.353 in 18 PAs.
He'll face Marco Estrada (5.32 ERA, 4.74 FIP) in the 30-year-old righty's first MLB action since early June. Estrada has been on the DL for two full months with a hamstring issue and last pitched for AAA Nashville in a rehab appearance on Friday, allowing two runs on three hits over 2.2 innings.
It's tough to tell what to expect from Estrada in his first start back tonight, but it's probably reasonable to believe he'll only throw 4-5 innings after being limited to 50 pitches last time out. His velocity might be something to keep an eye on: His average fastball was sitting in the high 80's earlier this season after averaging 91 mph in 2011 and 90.2 in 2012.
Estrada has not faced the Giants this season, and was lifted after a single inning in his only start against them last year. No current Giants have faced him ten times or more.
And in the bullpen:
- Brandon Kintzler pitched .2 innings (12 pitches) last night and has appeared in three consecutive games.
- Rob Wooten pitched .2 innings (six pitches) last night, and also pitched on Monday.
- Jim Henderson pitched 1.1 innings (25 pitches) last night.
- John Axford pitched .1 innings (14 pitches) on Monday.
- Michael Gonzalez faced one batter (six pitches) on Monday.
- Alfredo Figaro and Burke Badenhop last pitched on Friday.