clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Greinke) vs Rays (Hellickson)

New, 18 comments

Ok, let's try this again.

The Brewers are still looking for their second interleague win of the season, and they'll do it with Zack Greinke (5.23 ERA, 2.55 FIP) on the mound. Greinke snapped a streak of four straight quality starts his last time out, allowing eight runs (six earned) on eight hits over 5.1 innings against the Cubs on Thursday. He tied a season high by striking out ten in the game while walking two.

We've had a lot of conversation about what is or isn't wrong with Greinke in this space, and I won't rehash it here. I will, however, present three stats that demonstrate the difference between the Greinke we're seeing in 2011 and the rest of his career:

Stat 2011 Career
BABIP .360 .309
HR/FB 13.5% 8.7%
LD% 26.6% 20.6%

Greinke faced the Rays twice in 2011, and was very good on both occasions. If you combine the two starts he allowed just three runs on eight hits over 15 innings, walking two and striking out 15. Six Rays have faced him ten times or more:

Player PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Johnny Damon 28 .320 .393 .480 .873
B.J. Upton 17 .188 .235 .250 .485
Ben Zobrist 15 .214 .267 .357 .624
Casey Kotchman 13 .000 .077 .000 .077
Evan Longoria 13 .154 .154 .385 .538
Kelly Shoppach 12 .000 .083 .000 .083

Greinke will face Jeremy Hellickson (3.09 ERA, 4.12 FIP), making his 14th start in his first full major league season. He's been very good this season despite some numbers that would suggest he shouldn't be: He's only striking out 5.8 batters per nine, compared to 9.8 over six seasons in the minors. The numbers would also suggest he's been pretty lucky: Opposing batters are hitting just .224 on balls in play against him this season. He last pitched on Wednesday against the Red Sox and allowed three runs on four hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out two.

If you haven't seen Hellickson pitch before, get ready to see a lot of changeups. He has a low 90's fastball but throws the change almost a third of the time, along with some curveballs. FanGraphs rates both his fastball and change as above average pitches this season.

Hellickson, as you might expect, has never faced the Brewers. Yuniesky Betancourt faced him one time as a member of the Royals, and is 0-for-1.

Tonight's lineup:

2B Rickie Weeks
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
C Jonathan Lucroy
P Zack Greinke

And in the bullpen:

Mark DiFelice pitched an inning last night (25 pitches) and also pitched on Sunday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched an inning last night (14 pitches) and also pitched on Sunday.
Tim Dillard pitched .1 innings (15 pitches) last night.
Sergio Mitre pitched 3 innings (48 pitches) Sunday.
John Axford and Kameron Loe last pitched on Saturday.
Marco Estrada last pitched on Friday, but likely won't pitch unless the team is confident Shaun Marcum is healthy.