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Today's Matchup: Brewers (Wolf) at Red Sox (Lester)

What most Brewers fans were feeling like after last night
What most Brewers fans were feeling like after last night

After last night's loss, today's pitching match up doesn't look all that appealing on the surface.

The Red Sox will be sending Jon Lester (9-2, 3.73) to the mound.  The 27 year old Lester has been outstanding in his career, with a 3.57 ERA and 3.67 FIP over the course of six seasons.  He had his best season in 2010, when he had a 3.25 ERA and 3.13 FIP, but has taken a step back this year to a 3.73 ERA and 4.02 FIP.  I'm sure that's due in part to his K/9 being down one from last year (8.76 in 2011) and his HR/9 being up to 1.11.  His bb/9 of 3.32 is right around his career rate.  Lester is clearly a very dangerous pitcher, though, having compiled 17 fWAR in the past three seasons and1.3 so far in 2011.  If it weren't for Josh Beckett's comeback year, it would be easy to claim that Lester is the best pitcher the Red Sox have. 

Interestingly, Lester has been much better on the road than he has been in Fenway this year.  Outside of Boston, he allows a .200/.291/.367 opponent slash line, but at home those numbers jump to .312/.386/.416.  Right handers hit to the tune of a .776 OPS this year against Lester while lefties hit for a .491 OPS. 

Lester throws a pretty god mix of five different pitches: A 93 MPH four seamer (38.1% of the time), an 89 MPH cutter (25%), a 76 MPH curveball (13.6%), a 92 MPH sinker (13%) and an 85 MPH changeup (11%). 

Lester has faced just two current Brewers at least ten times in his career.  In 13 PA, Yuniesky Betancourt has hit .400/.538/.800 with one home run and three walks.  Josh Wilson, in 12 PA, has hit .000/.083/.000, having only gotten on base once, via walk. 

Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.20) will seek to continue his strong start to the season.  This is the Randy Wolf the Brewers had been hoping for when they signed him to a three year contract following a 2009 season when he had a 3.17 ERA and 3.96 FIP.  His 2011 numbers are actually fairly similar to that season.  Consider:

2009 2011
ERA 3.17 3.20
FIP 3.96 4.17
xFIP 4.10 4.09
K/9 6.72 6.94
BB/9 2.44 2.77
HR/9 1.01 1.07
HR/FB% 9.2% 9.3%


If Wolf continues being as good as he has been, it will go a long way towards the Brewers making the playoffs.  His last start, he went seven shutout innings against the Cubs, giving up just six hits and no walks while striking out seven.  Wolf has faced three Red Sox hitters at least ten times.  Here is how they have fared:

PA Slash Line
Adrian Gonzalez 18 .353/.389/.353
Mike Cameron 16 .231/.373/.231
JD Drew 12 .364/.417/1.182



DH Rickie Weeks
RF Corey Hart
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
2B Josh Wilson
CF Carlos Gomez
C George Kottaras


Tim Dillard pitched 2 innings (47 pitches) yesterday.
Marco Estrada pitched 4 innings (66 pitches) yesterday.

Sergio Mitre
pitched 2 innings (33 pitches) Thursday.
John Axford
pitched 1 inning (20 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) Wednesday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (12 pitches) Wednesday.
Mark DiFelice is back!

Weather: Boston was supposed to have storms from 3-5, but according to it should clear up in time for the game.