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Game Thread #5: Braves (3-1) at Brewers (0-4)

Adam McCalvy reported today that six teams in major league history have made the playoffs after starting 0-4. The race to #7 starts tonight.

Current Series

Braves lead the series 1-0

Mon 04/04 WP: Peter Moylan (1 - 0)
SV: Craig Kimbrel
LP: Takashi Saito (0 - 1)
1 - 2 loss

Atlanta Braves
@ Milwaukee Brewers

Tuesday, Apr 5, 2011, 7:10 PM CDT
Miller Park

Derek Lowe vs Yovani Gallardo

Mostly cloudy. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 45.

Tuesday's Frosty Mug

Complete Coverage >

Wed 04/06 7:10 PM CDT
Thu 04/07 12:40 PM CDT

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

Yovani Gallardo (3.00/5.34 ERA/FIP in 2011, 3.84/3.02 in 2010) would come into tonight's game 1-0 in a fair and just world, but instead he's making his first start since an Opening Day no-decision against the Reds. The Brewers' ace pitched six innings on Thursday, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out four. He threw 101 pitches in the game.

As has frequently been the case over the course of his career, Gallardo's pitch count lifted him from the game early on Opening Day. Despite allowing just two runs and only striking out four batters, Gallardo needed 20+ pitches to get through the first, third and sixth innings. He was able to extend the outing a little bit by needing just 17 pitches to get through the fourth and fifth combined, but still left three innings to the bullpen.

Gallardo faced the Braves one time in 2010, pitching six innings on May 12 and allowing two runs on five hits, walking three and striking out six. The Brewers lost the game 9-2. Three Braves have faced him ten times or more:

Nate McLouth 24 .286 .375 .286 .661
Brian McCann 12 .200 .333 .400 .733
Dan Uggla 10 .111 .200 .111 .311

Chipper Jones has also faced Gallardo nine times: He's 2-for-6 with a home run and a pair of walks.

Tonight Gallardo matches up against Derek Lowe (0.00/1.95 ERA/FIP in 2011, 4.00/3.89 in 2010), and the Brewers will hopefully become the first team to score a run against him. Lowe pitched 5.2 shutout innings against the Nationals on Thursday, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out six. Like Gallardo, his pitch count caused him to be lifted early: He needed 105 pitches over 5.2 innings.

Lowe's fastball sits in the upper 80's, but the Brewers likely won't see much of it: He feeds batters a steady diet of sliders (32% of pitches) and changeups (14%). Over the course of his career both his fastball and slider have been above average, and his changeup slightly below.

Lowe faced the Brewers twice last season, and had solid-but-not great outings on both occasions:

May 12 6 6 2 2 2 2
July 18 5.1 8 3 3 1 5

The Braves won both of those games.

Since Lowe has been around for a long time, it's not surprising that six Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Craig Counsell 37 .357 .459 .429 .888
Nyjer Morgan 28 .536 .536 .643 1.179
Prince Fielder 24 .250 .375 .250 .625
Mark Kotsay 20 .375 .500 .500 1.000
Rickie Weeks 13 .417 .462 .917 1.378
Jeremy Reed 11 .400 .400 .500 .900

Of that list, everyone except Reed is in the lineup tonight:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Mark Kotsay RF
Craig Counsell SS
George Kottaras C
Yovani Gallardo P

And in the bullpen:

Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Sunday.Takashi Saito pitched 1 inning (32 pitches) yesterday.
Zach Braddock pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) yesterday.

Sean Green
pitched 1 inning (29 pitches) Sunday.
Brandon Kintzler pitched 1.1 innings (37 pitches) Sunday.
John Axford pitched 0.2 innings (19 pitches) Sunday.
Mitch Stetter pitched 0.2 innings (12 pitches) Sunday.
Sergio Mitre pitched 2 innings (21 pitches) Saturday.


The Bucks are on FS Wisconsin again tonight (most of you know how I feel about that), so the Brewers have been bumped to WMLW once again. This means a fair chunk of us won't be able to watch the game and a fair number more won't be able to tell what's going on anyway due to a broadcast in substandard definition. As always, if you'd like to voice your displeasure over this arrangement you can send a tweet to @fswisconsin.

Enjoy the game!