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Game Thread #23: Brewers (9-13) at Padres (14-8)

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Here's a silver lining, folks: Last season's Brewers were already 5 games under .500 on April 18, when a 1-0 loss to the Mets dropped them to 3-8. With a win tonight, they'll avoid dropping to that level for the entire month of April.

With all of that on the line, clearly MLB Network couldn't let a game of this magnitude go untelevised. A nationwide audience* will be watching tonight as these two behemoths collide.

* - Residents of the Brewer and Padres blackout zones will see the Nationals and Marlins on MLB Network and (hopefully) this game via their local outlets.


Current Series

Padres lead the series 1-0

Thu 04/29 WP: Wade LeBlanc (2 - 0)
LP: Doug Davis (0 - 3)
0 - 9 loss

Milwaukee Brewers
@ San Diego Padres

Friday, Apr 30, 2010, 9:05 PM CDT
Petco Park

Dave Bush vs Clayton Richard

Clear. Winds blowing in from left field at 10-20 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 60.

Complete Coverage >

Sat 05/01 7:35 PM CDT
Sun 05/02 3:05 PM CDT

Follow us after the jump for tonight's pitching matchup, lineups and more on tonight's game!

Clayton Richard (0-2, 3.75 in 2010) enters play today with the sixth-lowest ERA among pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings without winning a game:

Pitcher ERA W L
Tom Gorzelanny 2.45 0 3
Zack Greinke 2.56 0 2
Kevin Millwood 3.38 0 3
Shaun Marcum 3.44 0 1
Jonathon Niese 3.68 0 1
Clayton Richard 3.75 0 2

He's also the only winless starting pitcher on the Padres. He's coming off arguably his worst start of the season against the Reds on Sunday, where he allowed three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, striking out just one in 5.1 innings of work, and allowing his only home run of the season.

According to FanGraphs, his fastball is in the low 90's (91.3 avg) and he'll mix in a slider, cutter and changeup. The slider is his best pitch, worth roughly +1.28 runs per 100 attempts. The cutter is his only below average pitch, and is worth nearly -6 runs per 100. He faced the Brewers three times last season but never before, so no Brewers have faced him more than nine times. Ryan Braun is 1-for-9 with a lonely single, and Prince Fielder has gone 2-for-9 with a home run.

He'll face Dave Bush (1-1, 4.84 in 2010), whose B-Ref page is sponsored by SgtClueLs. As such, we'll blame our friend Sgt for Bush's worst outing of the season last time out, a 3.2 inning, nine run (seven earned), ten hit performance where he allowed four home runs to the Cubs. Before that, Bush had been pretty good (a 2.41 ERA over three outings), so hopefully the rough start was just an aberration.

According to FanGraphs, Bush is using his slider more often this season (17.2% of pitches, up from 7.9% last season and 4.8% for his career), and it's not a good decision. The slider has been worth -4.66 runs per 100 attempts. His velocity is also significantly down (86.1 mph on his average fastball this season, down from a 88.8 career average). All three of his major pitches are below average at this point, but his curveball is the best of the three: He's using it 20.6% of the time and it's worth -0.2 runs per 100 pitches.

David Eckstein is the only current Padre who's seen Bush ten times: He's hitting .389/.450/.389 off of him in 20 PAs.

Lineup:
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Carlos Gomez
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
C Gregg Zaun
SS Alcides Escobar
P David Bush

Here's something I don't say often: Jeff Suppan ate some innings yesterday, so the bullpen is relatively fresh today:

Jeff Suppan pitched 4 innings (65 pitches) yesterday.
Manny Parra
pitched 3 innings (49 pitches) Wednesday.
Claudio Vargas pitched 2 innings (32 pitches) Wednesday.
Trevor Hoffman pitched 1 inning (23 pitches) Wednesday.
Todd Coffey pitched 1 inning (18 pitches) Wednesday.
Carlos Villanueva pitched 1 inning (14 pitches) Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) Wednesday.

Enjoy the game!