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Game Thread #19: Pirates (11-7) at Brewers (8-10)

So, in this morning's Mug I was an idiot and suggested the Brewers were playing the Diamondbacks tonight. While the Crew will open a series with the D-Backs on Thursday, they open a three game series tonight with the Pirates.

Furthermore, the Brewers are probably pretty excited to see the Pirates, a team that deserves a lot of credit for last year's playoff run. The Brewers were 13 games over .500 against the Pirates in 2008 (14-1), and just five games over .500 against everyone else. In fact, in games not involving the Pirates, Giants and Blue Jays last season, the 2008 Brewers were just 67-71.

Tonight's Brewer starting pitcher, Braden Looper, also enjoys facing the Pirates. Tonight will be his 30th career appearance (sixth start) against the Pirates, and he's 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 56.2 innings. Looper has also fared pretty well against the Pirates' biggest hitters: in 39 plate appearances, Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez and Nate McLouth have hit a combined .129/.270/.226 off of him. McLouth is unlikely to play tonight as he continues to rehab an oblique strain.

For the Pirates, Jeff Karstens will take the mound. He's 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts this season. He made two starts against the 2008 Brewers and went 0-1 despite pitching well: he had a 2.92 ERA in 12.1 innings. Rickie Weeks went 1-for-4 against him, but that one was a solo home run. No current Brewer has faced Karstens more than six times.

Game time is 7:05 from Miller Park in Milwaukee. Courtesy of Adam McCalvy, here are tonight's lineups:

Nyjer Morgan CF
Freddy Sanchez 2B
Craig Monroe LF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Eric Hinske RF
Andy LaRoche 3B
Jason Jaramillo C
Brian Bixler SS
Jeff Karstens RHP

Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Mike Cameron CF
J.J. Hardy SS
Bill Hall 3B
Jason Kendall C
Braden Looper RHP

Monday's Game Thread is now open.