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Game Thread #-8: Brewers (13-9) v. Padres (10-12)

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The Brewers were rained out yesterday and are off tomorrow, so this is the only chance we'll get for a few days to experience Cactus League baseball.

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

Marco Estrada makes his first start of the spring today, and his fourth appearance. He's posted a 2.25 ERA in four Cactus League innings, walking two and striking out none.

Estrada is probably another candidate to start on April 6, so today could be a chance for us to see how close he is to being stretched out. He made one start as a Brewer last season under somewhat strange circumstances, being pressed into duty and becoming the first Brewer in decades to start on zero days' rest. Shortly after that start he was placed on the DL and didn't pitch again in 2010.

Estrada has never faced the Padres.

He'll face off against Clayton Richard (3.75 ERA, 3.81 FIP in 2010), making his third start of the spring. Richard has posted a 4.26 ERA in 6.1 innings, walking three and striking out four. He last pitched against the Rangers on Thursday, allowing a run on four hits over four innings, walking one and striking out three.

Richard has a low 90's fastball which he supplements with changeups (15% of pitches) and sliders (13.7%), along with the occasional cutter and curve. His fastball, slider, cutter and curve were all above average according to FanGraphs in 2010.

Richard has faced the Brewers four times in his career: three times in 2009 and once last season. On April 30 of 2010, he shut the Brewers out for six innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out eight.

Lineup:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Casey McGehee 3B
Mark Kotsay RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
George Kottaras C
Erick Almonte 1B
Marco Estrada P

With the exception of first base, this is probably pretty close to the Opening Day lineup. Fielder would probably be in there, but he and Zach Braddock were sent home due to illness.

Weather:

The weather is a little cool for Arizona today, but the rain is out of the forecast. Gametime temps will be in the low 60's, and advance into the mid 60's as the day goes along.

Coverage:

Today's game is on WTMJ and available via Gameday Audio.

Enjoy the game!