The re-dawn of the Tony Plush Era is tonight...weather permitting.
Let's start with the weather, since that could be a story tonight: Tom Haudricourt is reporting the tarp is on the field at Turner Field in Atlanta, where thunderstorms are expected to roll in between now and gametime. However, the Weather Channel has the chance of rain decreasing to around 20% at game time. As such, the delay should be brief if there is one, and the two teams should have no problem getting a game in.
Once things get going Nyjer Morgan is in the lineup as the Brewers face Tommy Hanson (2.57 ERA, 2.71 FIP), who has been very good lately. He's gotten through seven innings while allowing one earned run or less in three of his last four starts. Hanson pitched seven shutout innings against the Padres on Wednesday, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out a season-high 10.
Hanson's fastball sits in the low 90's, and he'll work in a steady dose of sliders and curves along with the occasional changeup to go with it. FanGraphs says all three of his off-speed pitches have been two or more runs above average this season, which is outstanding.
The good news is that one of Hanson's roughest outings this season came against the Brewers. On April 7 he allowed three runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings, walking one and striking out two. Ryan Braun took him deep in the game. Braun is one of three Brewers that's faced Hanson ten or more times, and he's had excellent results:
Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum: Braun is the only major leaguer who has hit more than one home run off Hanson. He's hit four. Meanwhile, Carlos Beltran (12 PA) is the only player who's faced Hanson more than Rickie Weeks without getting a hit.
Hanson will face off against Marco Estrada (3.00 ERA, 4.26 FIP), making what could (once again) be his last start as a Brewer. If this is the end for Estrada he'll have some symmetry: His first 2011 start was also against the Braves. On April 6 he pitched six innings against them and allowed four runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out four. The Brewers eventually won that game, 5-4.
Estrada has actually been better since then, posting a 1.80 ERA and allowing just seven hits in 15 innings between two starts and two relief appearances. He's struck out 14 while walking just five over that span.
No Braves have faced Estrada more than five fimes, but Chipper Jones is 2-for-5 with a double and Brian McCann is 3-for-4.
Via Tyler Barnes, here's tonight's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Marco Estrada P
And in the bullpen:
Brandon Kintzler pitched 1.1 innings (8 pitches) last night.
Sean Green pitched 1.1 innings (7 pitches) last night.
Sergio Mitre pitched one inning (15 pitches) Sunday.
Mitch Stetter hasn't pitched since Friday.
John Axford hasn't pitched since Wednesday.