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Game Thread #13: Brewers (7-5) at Nationals (5-7)

Current Series

3 game series vs Nationals @ Nationals Park

Milwaukee Brewers
@ Washington Nationals

Friday, Apr 15, 2011, 6:05 PM CDT
Nationals Park

Chris Narveson vs Tom Gorzelanny

Mostly cloudy. Winds blowing from right to left field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around .

Series Preview #5: Talking Nationals With Federal Baseball
Friday's Frosty Mug

Complete Coverage >

Sat 04/16 12:05 PM CDT
Sun 04/17 12:35 PM CDT

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

Tom Gorzelanny (8.44/6.64 ERA/FIP in 2011, 4.09/3.92 in 2010) is making just his second start of the season tonight, and the results in his first outing weren't very good. On April 9 against the Mets he allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits over 5.1 innings, walking two and striking out eight. Two of the four hits he allowed were home runs. He's pitching tonight with an extra day of rest.

The sample size is obviously small but Gorzelanny's fastball velocity was down in his last start, averaging just 87.4 mph after working around 90 last season and averaging 91 in 2009. He'll also mix in a fair number of sliders and changeups: the slider has been his best pitch over his career at just slightly above average.

He only faced the Brewers once last season, in a brief relief appearance on June 10 as a member of the Cubs. He faced four batters in that game and got one out to go along with a pair of walks and an error. Three current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Prince Fielder 29 .222 .276 .259 .535
Rickie Weeks 26 .105 .346 .105 .451
Ryan Braun 25 .474 .600 1.000 1.600

Among major leaguers that have faced Gorzelanny at least ten times, Braun's OPS is the fifth highest.

Meanwhile, Chris Narveson (0.00/1.85 ERA/FIP in 2011, 4.99/4.22 in 2010) comes into tonight's game on a 15.2 inning scoreless streak, dating back to September of last season. This season he's allowed just nine hits over 13 innings of work, and struck out 14 while walking just four.

Again the sample size is small, but Narveson has really been getting a lot of mileage out of his changeup in the early going of 2011. He's throwing it almost 30% of the time and FanGraphs estimates its value at +5.76 runs per 100 pitches. His fastball, slider and curve have all also been above average thus far.

Narveson faced the Nats twice last season, once as a starter and once as a reliever. On April 17 he allowed a run on three hits in one inning of work out of the bullpen, and on July 23 he allowed five runs on six hits over six innings as a member of the rotation. No current Nationals have faced him more than four times, but Mike Morse is 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs.

Via Adam McCalvy, here's tonight's lineup:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Erick Almonte RF
Wil Nieves C
Chris Narveson P

And in the bullpen:

Kameron Loe pitched 1.1 innings (21 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Wednesday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (30 pitches) last night.
Mitch Stetter pitched 1 inning (16 pitches) on Wednesday.
Zach Braddock pitched .1 innings (18 pitches) on Wednesday.
Sean Green and Sergio Mitre haven't pitched since Sunday.
Brandon Kintzler hasn't pitched since being recalled from the minors on Monday.

To celebrate the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's major league debut, every player on both teams will wear #42 tonight. And in an effort to commemorate the anniversary of Juan Nieves' no-hitter, the Brewers are going to attempt to hold the Nationals hitless.

Enjoy the game!