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Game Thread #107: Brewers (48-58) at Cubs (46-59)

And the battle for third place is on!

Current Series

3 game series vs Cubs @ Wrigley Field

Milwaukee Brewers
@ Chicago Cubs

Monday, Aug 2, 2010, 7:05 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Yovani Gallardo vs Randy Wells

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

Complete Coverage >

Tue 08/03 7:05 PM CDT
Wed 08/04 1:20 PM CDT

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

Randy Wells (4.10 ERA, 3.45 FIP) allows a fair number of hits (9.8 per nine innings in 2010), but doesn't allow many home runs (just 0.6 per 9). Lately, he's been pretty good at pitching deep into games. Before last week's outing against the Astros, he'd gone at least seven innings in four straight starts and at least six innings in seven straight. He's been worth 2.2 wins according to B-Ref this season, more than any Brewer pitcher not named Gallardo.

Wells throws around 90 (89.8 mph average fastball), but relies heavily on a slider (23.9% of all pitches) and a changeup (19.2%). He has a 3.41 ERA in seven career appearances (including five starts) against the Brewers, and faced them twice in April, allowing six runs on 17 hits over 13 innings (4.15 ERA). Five Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Ryan Braun 16 .357 .438 .429 .866
Prince Fielder 13 .333 .385 .667 1.051
Corey Hart 12 .250 .250 .333 .583
Alcides Escobar 11 .500 .545 .500 1.045
Rickie Weeks 10 .300 .300 .400 .700

Yovani Gallardo (2.77 ERA, 2.92 FIP) is a 2010 All Star, the NL leader in strikeouts per nine innings (9.7) and the team leader in WAR (2.9 pitching, 0.7 hitting for a total of 3.6). He has, however, had two short starts in his last three trips to the mound, and is coming off a disaster start against the Reds on Wednesday, when he allowed five earned runs on ten hits in 2.2 innings.

Gallardo is doing a better job in 2010 of getting ahead in the count, which might account for some of his increased success this season. In 2009, Gallardo only threw first pitch strikes 52.6% of the time. That number is up to 61.6% this season. Four Cubs have faced him ten times or more:

Kosuke Fukudome 13 .364 .462 .364 .825
Ryan Theriot 13 .400 .538 .400 .938
Derrek Lee 12 .333 .500 .444 .944
Mike Fontenot 11 .200 .273 .300 .573

Tonight's lineup, courtesy of Jordan Schelling:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Jim Edmonds CF
Alcides Escobar SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yovani Gallardo P

And in the bullpen:
Zach Braddock pitched .2 innings (18 pitches) yesterday.
Todd Coffey pitched 1.1 innings (15 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe faced 2 batters (8 pitches) yesterday.
Chris Capuano pitched 2 innings (37 pitches) Saturday.
David Riske pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) Saturday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (15 pitches) Friday.
Trevor Hoffman pitched 1 inning (6 pitches) Tuesday.
John Axford hasn't pitched since a week ago today.

Enjoy the game!