Spring Training Game Preview and Thread #-8: Brewers (11-12) @ Rangers (6-13)

Prince Fielder is expected to play in these two teams' final meeting until 2015.

The Brewers haven't had a winning spring since 2011. That season worked out all right. With an 11-12 record and six Cactus League games remaining, they have a chance to do it again in 2014.

Today they'll visit Surprise(!) to take on Tanner Scheppers (3.12 ERA this spring, 1.88/3.74 ERA/FIP in 2013) and the Rangers at 3:05 Central time. Scheppers is making his fourth appearance of the spring and his first since last Friday, when he pitched four innings against the Reds and held them to two runs on three hits over four innings. He walked two and struck out five in that outing.

Scheppers is 27 and was the Rangers' supplemental round pick in the 2009 draft after falling down many teams' draft boards due to injury concerns. He's pitched slightly more than 280 innings over four and a half professional seasons since (around 62 per year), but has been effective when healthy. Last season the Rangers used him in 76 games as a reliever and he posted a 1.88 ERA. He has a mid-to-upper 90's fastball and a slider to contend with.

Scheppers made two relief appearances against the Brewers last season and worked two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. No current Brewers have faced him more than once.

He'll face Brewers Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo (2.77 ERA this spring, 4.19/3.89 ERA/FIP in 2013) in his second-to-last spring training tuneup. Gallardo worked five innings against the Diamondbacks on Sunday and allowed three runs on seven hits, walking none and striking out two.

It seems likely that this will be Gallardo's last extended outing of the spring. Assuming all goes well today, he'll probably pitch a shorter outing in his final appearance before getting the ball on Opening Day. He's still only recorded more than ten outs in one game in the Cactus League, though, so it's possible he'll need more work.

Gallardo went to high school in Fort Worth, Texas but has pitched against the Rangers during the regular season just once in his career, in a start in 2010. Two current Rangers have faced him ten times or more:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Geovany Soto 26 24 5 1 0 2 3 2 11 .208 .269 .500 .769
Shin-Soo Choo 19 14 1 0 0 0 0 5 7 .071 .316 .071 .387
Total 51 44 6 1 0 2 3 7 22 .136 .255 .295 .550
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/21/2014.

Mike Vassallo has today's lineup, featuring Ryan Braun for the first time since Tuesday:

Meanwhile, Prince Fielder is expected to play for Texas.

The weather is nice again. Game time temperatures in the 70's expected to climb into the 80's, just like every other day.

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