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Game Thread #55: Brewers (22-32) at Cardinals (31-23)

In an alternate reality, this might have been the series where the Brewers proved they're for real and expanded their lead in the NL Central by taking two of three from the defending division champs.

In this reality, though, they're just looking to avoid falling ten games behind.

Current Series

3 game series vs Cardinals @ Busch Stadium

Milwaukee Brewers
@ St. Louis Cardinals

Friday, Jun 4, 2010, 7:15 PM CDT
Busch Stadium

Randy Wolf vs Adam Wainwright

Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing out to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 90.

Friday's Frosty Mug

Complete Coverage >

Sat 06/05 3:10 PM CDT
Sun 06/06 7:00 PM CDT

Follow the jump for tonight's pitching matchup and more!

Adam Wainwright (2.28 ERA, 2.72 FIP) enters tonight's game among the NL leaders in WAR (2.4), ERA (2.28), WHIP (1.013), hits per nine (6.72), K/9 (8.77), innings pitched (79), and complete games (2). He's posted a quality start in ten of his eleven appearances this season, and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in nine of them. He hasn't faced the Brewers yet this season, but owns a 2.25 ERA over 84 innings (eleven starts and seven relief appearances) against them for his career. He posted a 1.24 ERA against the Crew in five starts last season.

Wainwright throws a 90.6 mph average fastball, but doesn't use it often, just 42.7% of the time. He relies heavily on a slider, curve and change and all of them are good: FanGraphs estimates their values at +2.47, +3.07 and +1.88 runs per 100 pitches, respectively. Six current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Prince Fielder 37 .214 .405 .357 .763
Ryan Braun 34 .226 .294 .452 .746
Corey Hart 31 .258 .258 .387 .645
Rickie Weeks 22 .167 .318 .278 .596
Craig Counsell 20 .300 .300 .400 .700
Casey McGehee 10 .111 .200 .111 .311

Randy Wolf (4.46 ERA, 5.02 FIP) has been a bit of a mystery lately: In six starts in May he provided three quality starts (including one seven inning shutout performance) but also a disaster start (6 ER in 5 IP) and another near disaster (6 ER in 6.1 IP). He's allowing a lot of baserunners lately: He has a 1.700 WHIP in his last seven starts. The Brewers are 2-5 with him on the mound over that stretch.

Wolf's velocity remains down a bit this season: His average fastball was 89 mph last season, but is just 87.8 this year. On the season, all four of his pitches (fastball, slider, curve and change) are below average, but the slider is only slightly so, at -0.04 runs per 100. Six current Cardinals have faced him ten times or more:

Felipe Lopez 27 .320 .370 .440 .810
Jason LaRue 26 .261 .346 .478 .824
Albert Pujols 23 .350 .391 .550 .941
Matt Holliday 21 .263 .333 .579 .912
Ryan Ludwick 16 .167 .313 .167 .479
Yadier Molina 13 .231 .231 .462 .692


Milwaukee Brewers St. Louis Cardinals
Rickie Weeks 2B Felipe Lopez 2B
Ryan Braun LF Ryan Ludwick RF
Prince Fielder 1B Albert Pujols 1B
Casey McGehee 3B Matt Holliday LF
Jim Edmonds CF David Freese 3B
Corey Hart RF Yadier Molina C
George Kottaras C Colby Rasmus CF
Randy Wolf P Brendan Ryan SS
Alcides Escobar SS Adam Wainwright P

The bullpen combined for 4.1 scoreless innings last night, hopefully they won't be needed that much again today:

Kameron Loe pitched 2.1 innings (26 pitches) yesterday.
Zach Braddock pitched 1 inning (21 pitches) yesterday.
Trevor Hoffman pitched 1 inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched 1.2 innings (25 pitches) Wednesday.
Carlos Villanueva pitched .1 innings (11 pitches) Wednesday.
Jeff Suppan pitched 1 inning (11 pitches) Monday.
Todd Coffey pitched 2.1 innings (29 pitches) Saturday.

Enjoy the game!