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Game Thread #100: Nationals (31-68) at Brewers (49-50)

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Current Series

Nationals lead the series 1-0

Mon 07/27 WP: Jason Bergmann (1 - 1)
LP: Jeff Suppan (5 - 8)
6 - 14 loss

Washington Nationals
@ Milwaukee Brewers

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009, 7:05 PM CDT
Miller Park

Collin Balester vs Carlos Villanueva

Mostly cloudy. Winds blowing from right to left field at 5-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 75.

Complete Coverage >

Wed 07/29 7:05 PM CDT
Thu 07/30 1:05 PM CDT

Can the Brewers beat the worst team in baseball and avoid falling two games below .500 for the first time since April 26? Follow the jump for tonight's pitching matchup, lineups and conversation on tonight's game!

A lot has been made of the decision to start Carlos Villanueva tonight, but the Nationals are also starting an inexperienced starter. Collin Balester (0-1, 6.00) is making just his second start of 2009, and his 17th career start tonight. He lasted just three innings in his last start against the Cardinals, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in three innings and picking up the loss. He had gone 7-9 with a 4.35 ERA for Syracuse in AAA before getting the call. Balester struggles with baserunners, and posted a 1.519 WHIP in AAA.

Meanwhile, Carlos Villanueva is preparing for his first start since May 18 of last season. He's 5-9 with a 4.40 ERA in his career as a starter, and 11-12 with a 4.15 ERA as a reliever. Villanueva has been struggling lately, posting a 10.80 ERA in his last 17 appearances while going 0-4. He has been pretty good against Adam Dunn, though: Dunn is the only National who's faced him more than seven times, and he's hit .154/.214/.154 off of Villanueva in 14 plate appearances.

Casey McGehee is back in the lineup tonight, bumping Mike Cameron into the second spot (h/t JS):

2B Felipe Lopez
CF Mike Cameron
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
SS J.J. Hardy
C Jason Kendall
RHP Carlos Villanueva

Villanueva is expected to pitch 3-4 innings tonight, leaving at least five innings for the bullpen:

Chris Smith pitched one inning (11 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
Mark DiFelice pitched .2 innings (11 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
R.J. Swindle pitched 2 innings (35 pitches) last night.
Mitch Stetter faced two batters (7 pitches) last night.
Todd Coffey has not pitched since Saturday.
Tim Dillard is expected to back up Villanueva tonight, and last pitched on Wednesday for Nashville.
Trevor Hoffman has not pitched since Tuesday, July 21.

Enjoy the game!