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Game Thread #87: Pirates (30-55) at Brewers (37-49)

Ok, I know this was a rough week, but the Brewers open a series tonight with the NL's worst team. Clearly things have to get better from here, right?

Current Series

3 game series vs Pirates @ Miller Park

Pittsburgh Pirates
@ Milwaukee Brewers

Friday, Jul 9, 2010, 7:10 PM CDT
Miller Park

Paul Maholm vs Doug Davis

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.

Complete Coverage >

Sat 07/10 6:10 PM CDT
Sun 07/11 1:10 PM CDT

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

Doug Davis (7.56 ERA, 4.65 FIP) is making his first start since May 10, and what to expect from him tonight is anyone's guess. Davis missed nearly two months with pericarditis, inflammation of the lining around the heart, and really wasn't very good before he left, producing three disaster starts and one quality start in seven outings.Davis made three minor league rehab starts to get ready for this return, and posted a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings between Wisconsin and Nashville, striking out 16 and walking five. Only two Pirates have faced him ten times:

Ronny Cedeno 14 .077 .077 .077 .154
Ryan Doumit 12 .182 .250 .182 .432

He'll face Paul Maholm (4.50 ERA, 4.32 FIP), who is having a bit of a down season. Maholm's ERA is only up slightly from 2009 (4.44 to 4.50), but he's on pace to set career highs in hits (10.8/9, up from 9.8 career) and walks (3.5/9, up from 3.1 career) and a career low in strikeouts (4.8/9, down from 5.6 career).

Maholm is lefthanded and has a 88.5 mph fastball. He'll also mix in a curve (17.6%) and a changeup (17.3%), plus the occasional slider (9.4%). The curve is his only above average pitch this season, worth +0.94 runs per 100. Several Brewers are very familiar with his work:

Corey Hart 45 .333 .400 .641 1.041
Prince Fielder 43 .075 .140 .075 .215
Rickie Weeks 43 .200 .349 .229 .577
Ryan Braun 31 .333 .419 .519 .938
Casey McGehee 15 .333 .467 .583 1.050

Via Tyler Barnes, we see that George Kottaras is catching Doug Davis tonight, starting for the third time in four days:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Prince Fielder 1B
Ryan Braun LF
Casey McGehee 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
George Kottaras C
Alcides Escobar SS
Doug Davis P

This could be interesting: There are eight pitchers in the Brewer bullpen behind Davis, and every one of them has pitched in the last two days.

Trevor Hoffman pitched 1 inning (24 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Wednesday.
Carlos Villanueva pitched 1 inning (16 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Wednesday.Zach Braddock pitched 1 inning (18 pitches) yesterday.David Riske pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (17 pitches) Wednesday.
Todd Coffey pitched 1 inning (36 pitches) Wednesday.
Chris Capuano pitched 0.2 inning (28 pitches) Wednesday.

Enjoy the game!