It's an interleague matchup of division leaders as YOUR Milwaukee Brewers visit the House That Steinbrenner Built for a 6:05 p.m. CDT contest with the despised New York Yankees, who lead the AL East with a 45-31 mark in 2011.
The Brewers send right-hander Zack Greinke to the bump in what can probably be described as The Type of Game We Got This Guy For. For the year, Greinker boasts a 7-2 record and a somewhat-misleading 4.77 ERA (2.30 FIP; 1.84 xFIP). This won't be news to you, astute and faithful Brewer fan that you are, but Greinke's numbers are goofy as hell this year: from his absurd 11.93 K/9 rate to his microscopic 1.34 BB/9 to his .348 BABIP to his 12.7 HR/FB% to his 58.8% strand rate to his 25.2% line drive percentage, Zack's season has been a case study in the surprising sustainability of unsustainable numbers.
Anyway, I've given up trying to figure out what's causing the explosion of outliers in Greinke's season, so I'll just tell you that the kid put up his best performance of the year his last time out -- seven innings, four hits, no walks, ten punchouts, one earned run on 116 pitches vs. the Rays -- and cross my fingers that he can build on that this time around.
The task won't be easy, though: thanks to his time in the AL, six Yankees have seen Greinke more than 10 times -- and the numbers aren't pretty*:
* As Supertramp pointed out to me, though, you might be well served to take those numbers with a grain of salt: Greinke hasn't faced the Yanks since 2008, so they missed him in his sublime 2009 campaign and didn't see him in 2010, either.
Los Yankees counter with crafty right-hander Freddy Garcia, who has beguiled his way to a 6-6 record and 3.30 ERA (4.14 FIP; 4.11 xFIP) so far this year. Garcia isn't blowing the ball past anybody at this stage in his career -- his four-seamer averages a pedestrian 87.4 mph and has been worth (-6.1) runs above average this season -- but he'll tantalize you with an assortment of junk and let you get yourself out. His BB/9 rate is a bit higher than his career average -- 3.08 this year, vs. 2.78 for his career -- but his WHIP is right in line with his career average: 1.30 this season, 1.30 for the career.
Fred the Fossil throws four pitches in addition to his fastball: an 81 mph slider that he throws 24% of the time; a 72 mph curveball that he uses on 10% of hits pitches; an 80 mph changeup that he uses 9% of the time; and a 79 mph splitter that he throws a whopping 21% of the time. All of the non-fastball pitches have been positive in terms of runs above average, ranging from a high of 2.6 runs above average for the slider to 0.4 runs above average for the change.
Only three current Brewers have faced Garcia nine or more times:
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
DH Mat Gamel
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
C Jonathan Lucroy
Out in the 'pen:
Tim Dillard pitched 1 inning (20 pitches) on Saturday.
Zach Braddock pitched 1 inning for Nashville on Sunday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (14 pitches) Sunday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) Sunday.
Marco Estrada last pitched last Wednesday (50 pitches).
LaTroy Hawkins pitched one-third of an inning (5 pitches) on Sunday.