The Brewers finally wrap up the road trip with an afternoon game today.
Kyle McClellan (3.79 ERA, 4.16 FIP) gets the ball for the Cardinals today, making his seventh appearance and sixth start of 2011. This is his first season as a starter after making 66 or more relief appearances for St. Louis in each of the last three seasons. He's been the Cardinals' lucky charm this season: They're 6-0 in his appearances. He picked up a no-decision on Tuesday by allowing four runs on six hits over five innings, walking two and striking out two.
McClellan works in the high 80's with his fastball, and will feed opposing batters a steady diet of curves, cutters and the occasional changeup. FanGraphs would suggest he should trust his fastball more: It's been slightly above average while his curve and cutter have been significantly below.
McClellan faced the Brewers five times as a reliever in 2011, allowing a run on three hits over 4.2 innings with a walk and four strikeouts. The lone run came on a walkoff solo home run for Casey McGehee. Ryan Braun is the only Brewer who's faced him ten times or more: He's 4-for-10 with a double and a triple for a .400/.400/.700 line.
He'll face off against former Cardinal Chris Narveson (4.64 ERA, 3.29 FIP). Narveson spent eight seasons as a member of the St. Louis organization, and was a Baseball America top prospect in 2002. He pitched in five major league games for the eventual World Series winners in 2006.
This season Narveson got off to a hot start but has struggled lately, posting a 7.65 ERA and allowing opposing batters to hit .300/.360/.475 in his last four starts, all of which have ended in Brewer losses. His ERA/FIP differential and BABIP (.323) would suggest he's been a bit unlucky. He's also throwing his changeup nearly 32% of the time, and according to FanGraphs it's been his best pitch.
Narveson faced the Cardinals three times in 2010 and was serviceable, allowing ten runs on 16 hits over 18 innings (a 5.00 ERA). Four Cardinals have faced him ten times or more:
Pujols is one of three batters that have hit multiple home runs against Narveson. Mike Morse and Chris Young are the others.
Via Tyler Barnes, here's today's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Mark Kotsay RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Carlos Gomez CF
Chris Narveson P
And in the bullpen:
John Axford pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Mike McClendon pitched 3 innings (36 pitches) Friday.
Kameron Loe pitched on Thursday.
Mitch Stetter, Sergio Mitre, Brandon Kintzler and LaTroy Hawkins haven't pitched since Wednesday.