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Game Thread #92: Brewers (41-50) at Braves (53-37)

Yesterday the Brewers avoided the sweep. Can they clinch the split today?

Current Series

4 game series vs Braves @ Turner Field

Thu 07/15 WP: Jair Jurrjens (2 - 3)
SV: Billy Wagner
LP: Dave Bush (4 - 7)
1 - 2 loss
Fri 07/16 WP: Randy Wolf (7 - 8)
LP: Tommy Hanson (8 - 6)
9 - 3 win

Milwaukee Brewers
@ Atlanta Braves

Saturday, Jul 17, 2010, 6:10 PM CDT
Turner Field

Chris Narveson vs Tim Hudson

Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing out to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 80.

Complete Coverage >

Sun 07/18 12:35 PM CDT

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

Tim Hudson (2.30 ERA, 4.24 FIP) is having a pretty good, if somewhat lucky, season. After throwing just 142 innings in 2008 and 42.1 in 2009, Hudson is on place to pitch 218 innings this season, and his 2.30 ERA is the sixth best in the National League. An awful lot of that seems to be attributable to luck, though: Hudson is allowing just 7 hits per nine innings, easily the lowest of his career, and opposing batters are hitting just .232 on balls put in play against him, down from .305 for his career.

Hudson isn't striking out nearly as many as he used to: He's at 4.5 per nine innings this season, down from 6.0 for his career and 7.5 back when he was the Cy Young runner up in 2000. Hudson throws everything but the kitchen sink: He's got a 91.1 mph fastball which he throws 64.5% of the time, but he also mixes in a slider, cutter, curve, change and splitter between 3.5 and 11% of the time each. Six Brewers have faced him ten or more times:

Jim Edmonds 29 .435 .517 .652 1.169
Craig Counsell 25 .273 .333 .364 .697
Prince Fielder 21 .222 .333 .222 .556
Corey Hart 21 .316 .381 .421 .802
Rickie Weeks 16 .000 .063 .000 .063
Ryan Braun 11 .455 .455 .455 .909

Among players that have faced Hudson at least ten times, Rickie Weeks is one of just five without a hit.

Player PA H
Rickie Weeks 16 0
Lastings Milledge 15 0
Ken Harvey 11 0
Reed Johnson 11 0
Julio Lugo 10 0

Chris Narveson (6.02 ERA, 4.71 FIP) is coming off his worst start of the season, a 3.1 inning, nine earned run disaster against the Giants on July 7. He has a 6.70 ERA in his last nine starts, and that includes the eight shutout innings he threw against the Mariners on June 27. This is his first career start against the Braves.

Of course, no mention of Narveson would be complete without noting his first inning struggles: Narveson has allowed 21 earned runs in the first inning of his 14 starts this season (a 13.50 ERA), more than twice as many as he's allowed in any other inning. If he can survive the first, his ERA in innings 2-5 is 3.35.

For the second straight day I'm searching the internet and can't find a mention of tonight's Brewer lineup. Hopefully someone can post it in the comments.

And in the bullpen:

Zach Braddock pitched .1 innings (9 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Thursday.Todd Coffey pitched .1 innings (3 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Thursday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1.1 innings (18 pitches) yesterday.
Trevor Hoffman pitched 1 inning (11 pitches) yesterday.
David Riske pitched .1 innings (4 pitches) Thursday.
John Axford, Carlos Villanueva and Chris Capuano haven't pitched since before the All Star break.

Enjoy the game!