The Brewers are 0-3 against the Nationals this season, as they were swept in Washington in the middle series of an otherwise successful April road trip. They get their first shot at revenge tonight in the opener of a three game series.
When the two teams get underway tonight Yovani Gallardo (4.70 ERA, 4.13 FIP) will be on the mound for the Brewers. His up-and-down year seems to have stabilized a bit, as he's posted a 3.24 ERA in May and is riding a streak of three straight average-to-above starts. Last time out he held the Padres to two runs on five hits over six innings, walking three and striking out a season-high nine.
Gallardo's familiar pitch count problem is back again in 2011. Despite averaging just over six innings per game he's throwing 106.4 pitches per start. He's only had one start this season where he's thrown under 100 pitches and four where he's thrown more than 110. He needed 114 pitches to complete six innings last time out, and he's pitching on normal rest.
Gallardo faced the Nationals on April 17 and was roughed up, allowing seven runs on ten hits over 5.1 innings, walking none, striking out five and allowing two home runs. Three current Nats have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Tom Gorzelanny (3.56 ERA, 4.70 FIP), who is struggling a bit lately: He's allowed seven earned runs while failing to complete the sixth inning in each of his last two starts, allowing three home runs in the process. The sample size is small but opposing batters are hitting .364/.442/.659 against him since May 7.
Gorzelanny's BABIP numbers would suggest he's still due for more regression: Opposing batters are hitting .227 on balls in play against him this season, which is incredibly unsustainable for a pitcher who's getting ground balls just 32.6% of the time. He has a high 80's fastball that's been above average for him this season, a good changeup and a below average slider.
Gorzelanny had a quality start against the Brewers on April 15, allowing two runs on five hits over six innings, walking two and striking out four. Rickie Weeks took him deep in that game. Four Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Among players that have faced Gorzelanny at least 20 times, Braun has easily had the most success. The second best player by OPS is Derrek Lee, almost 300 points behind.
Via Tyler Barnes, here's today's Brewer lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Carlos Gomez CF
Yovani Gallardo P
And in the bullpen: