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Game Thread #20: Pirates (11-8) at Brewers (9-10)

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Even if tonight's game didn't have a great pitching matchup, it would still have an interesting storyline: One day after tempers flared and Ryan Braun suggested retaliation might be coming after getting hit by a Jeff Karstens fastball, the Brewers and Pirates face off once more, meeting #2 of 14 this season. On top of that, though, tonight could be a great pitching matchup between one of the Brewers' most consistent starters and one of the NL's hottest.

Paul Maholm takes the mound tonight for the Pirates. He's 3-0 in his first four starts and has posted a 2.02 ERA, sixth in the National League. He's among the NL leaders in wins (third), ERA (sixth), WHIP (ninth)...and hit batsmen (second). He also has yet to allow a home run in 2009. He's starting his eleventh game against the Brewers tonight, and is 2-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 63.1 innings.

Hot as Maholm may be, Mike Cameron will be excited to see him: in 20 career plate appearances against Maholm, Cameron is hitting .611/.650/1.111 with three home runs. Among pitchers Cameron has faced at least 20 times, there's only one guy he's hit harder than Maholm.

Pitcher PA OPS
Rocky Biddle 20 1.936
Paul Maholm 20 1.761
Matt Morris 35 1.284
Woody Williams 32 1.103
Brandon Backe 24 1.090

For the Brewers, Dave Bush returns to the mound. In his last start, he nearly no-hit the defending World Champions, and in the process he lowered his ERA from 5.40 to 3.86. Bush is 3-4 with a 4.67 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) against the Pirates. Only two current Pirates have ever hit a home run off of him: Nate McLouth, who likely will not play again tonight, and Brandon Moss.

Game time is at 7:05. Tuesday's Game Thread is now open.