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Game Thread #123: Padres (73-47) at Brewers (57-64)

The Padres are 13-0 against the NL Central since July 1. Tonight the Brewers get a chance to end that streak.

Current Series

3 game series vs Padres @ Miller Park

San Diego Padres
@ Milwaukee Brewers

Friday, Aug 20, 2010, 7:10 PM CDT
Miller Park

Wade LeBlanc vs Yovani Gallardo

Mostly cloudy. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.

Friday's Frosty Mug

Complete Coverage >

Sat 08/21 6:10 PM CDT
Sun 08/22 1:10 PM CDT

Check out Nicole's series preview, then join us after the jump for tonight's pitching matchup, lineup and more!

Yovani Gallardo (2.97 ERA, 2.69 FIP) was the victim of some tough luck his last time out, as he was pitching very well for seven innings against the Rockies, but was left in to start the eighth and was charged with two extra runs when Kameron Loe allowed the home run that cost the Brewers the lead. All told, Gallardo has just two quality starts in his last seven appearances, but he has struck out 39 batters in his last 36.1 innings.

Entering play tonight Gallardo leads the National League with 9.95 strikeouts per nine innings, a slight improvement over 2009's 9.89. However, he's cut his walks significantly: Last year he was allowing 4.6 per nine innings, and this year it's down to 3.6. He's also using his slider more (16.2% of pitches), and it's his best pitch according to FanGraphs, at +1.36 runs per 100.

Gallardo is facing the Padres for the second time this season: On May 1, he pitched seven innings, allowing a run on six hits, walking two and striking out 11. Only two Padres have faced him ten times or more:

Miguel Tejada 14 .154 .214 .462 .676
Jerry Hairston 10 .100 .100 .200 .300

He'll face Wade LeBlanc (3.46 ERA, 4.42 FIP), making his 23rd start in his first full major league season. LeBlanc had his best start of the second half (by game score) his last time out, holding the Giants to two runs on four hits over seven innings on Sunday, walking two and striking out seven. He's facing the Brewers for the second time this season: On April 29, he shut the Crew out for 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits but no walks and striking out six in a 9-0 Padres victory.

LeBlanc is a relatively soft tossing lefty, averaging just 86.6 mph on a fastball he throws 52.7% of the time. He'll also mix in a lot of changeups (27.8%) and cutters (13.1%). The changeup is his best pitch, worth +0.92 runs per 100. At one point this season he allowed at least one home run in seven straight starts (11 in 42.1 innings), but since then he's allowed just one long ball over three starts. LeBlanc hasn't faced any Brewer more than three times, but both Ryan Braun and George Kottaras are 2-for-3 with a double against him.

Via the Brewers on Facebook, here's tonight's lineup:

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

And in the bullpen:

John Axford pitched .1 innings (19 pitches) Wednesday, and also pitched on Tuesday.
Trevor Hoffman pitched .1 innings (3 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1.1 innings (24 pitches) Tuesday.
Todd Coffey, David Riske and Zach Braddock haven't pitched since Sunday.
Mike McClendon hasn't pitched since Saturday.
Chris Capuano hasn't pitched since a week ago today.

Enjoy the game!