Everyone knows that Greinkemas is better when you celebrate it at home.
Tonight Zack Greinke (6.60 ERA, 2.36 FIP) takes the mound at Miller Park for the third time. His ERA is somewhat inflated because of one terrible inning in his last start, where he failed to record an out and allowed five runs to score against the Pirates. All told, he's averaging just five innings per start since returning from the DL on May 4. Hopefully tonight will be the night he's back in full form.
All of the following numbers come with a small sample size caveat, but I think they're worth noting nonetheless. Greinke's velocity has been down slightly in his first few starts compared to 2011, but nothing too notable. The notable thing has been his decision to somewhat abandon his changeup, which he threw 13% of the time last season. He's throwing it just 6% of the time this season, and replacing it with more curves than he's ever thrown before. The curve has been his worst pitch this season, at -3.15 runs per 100 pitches.
Greinke has faced the Rockies three times in his career, and one of those matchups was last season. The results were not pretty: He allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits over just 3.1 innings, walking none and striking out one. Jason Giambi took him deep in the game. Three Rockies have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Jason Hammel (3.71 ERA, 3.98 FIP), who is off to a very good start in his third season as a full time starter. He hasn't been all that great lately, however. He's allowed ten earned runs over 13.1 IP (6.75 ERA) over his last two starts, and the Rockies have lost both games. He faced the Padres on Sunday and allowed six runs on six hits over 6.1 innings, walking three and striking out five. Before this current mini-skid, he had posted a 1.93 ERA over his previous five starts.
Hammel throws four pitches: A low-mid 90's fastball, a slider, change and curve. He'll mix in each of his off-speed pitches between 10-20% of the time. None of them have been spectacular this season, but his slider has been exactly average and both the curve and change have been above.
Hammel faced the Brewers once last season and was very good, pitching 7.1 shutout innings on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The Rockies won the game 2-0. Ryan Braun is the only Brewer who's faced Hammel ten or more times: He's 4-for-8 with a double, walk and HBP for a .500/.600/.625 line. Prince Fielder is one for seven against him, and the one was a solo homer.
As of this writing I haven't seen tonight's Brewer lineup. Maybe you have? If so, drop it in the comments.
Here's tonight's bullpen situation:
Marco Estrada pitched .2 inning (16 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched .2 innings (12 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (19 pitches) Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (16 pitches) Wednesday.
Mike McClendon and Sergio Mitre last pitched on Tuesday.
Tim Dillard is almost done carving a life-sized squirrel out of one of George Kottaras' bats.