The Brewers are hoping to leave today up two games in the NL Central for the first time in 2011.
To do that, they'll need to hit against Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.59), who has been pitching very well lately. Through May 10 (a stretch that includes his no-hitter), Liriano had a 7.07 ERA and opponents had a .777 OPS against him despite a .234 BABIP. Since then, though, he's been much, much better. In five starts since May 17, he has a 1.91 ERA and opponents have just a .491 OPS. He's also striking out hitters at a rate closer to his career numbers. Liriano seems to have turned around his season and that may be bad news for the Brewers.
Overall this year, Liriano has a 7.60 K/9, a 4.85 BB/9 and a 0.79 HR/9. His FIP is 4.10, his tRA is 3.84 and his xFIP is 4.23. In June, his FIP is 1.30.
Liriano throws four pitches, all at a good mix: A 92 MPH four seamer, an 85 MPH slider, an 83 MPH changeup, and a 92 MPH two seamer. His fastball, as I was surprise to learn, has had a negative value his whole career according to fangraphs. His slider, though, is outstanding. His changeup has also served him well. Liriano has faced just two Brewers at least ten times. In 20 PA, Yuniesky Betancourt has a .200/.200/.350 line and in 11 PA, Prince Fielder has a .091/.091/.091 line.
It would be fairly easy to draw parallels between Liriano and Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo (8-4, 4.11) this season. Like Liriano, Gallardo also suffered through some early season struggles with a 6.10 ERA through his first seven starts. Again like Liriano, Gallardo turned it around in the middle of May as he has a 2.62 ERA in nine starts since.
Gallardo's last outing against the Red Sox was his worst since those early season struggles (and maybe his worst of the season) as he gave up eight runs (five earned) in just three innings. Gallardo has never faced a Twin batter at least ten times, but in the times he has faced them, they have struggled mightily.
Lineup, via Tyler Barnes:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Carlos Gomez CF
Yovani Gallardo P
Marco Estrada pitched 3 innings (50 pitches) Wednesday.
Tim Dillard pitched 2 innings (42 pitches) Wednesday.
Sergio Mitre pitched 1 inning (19 pitches) Wednesday.
Mark DiFelice and LaTroy Hawkins last pitched on Monday.
Remember to make your prognistikeggers predictions!