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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) vs Mets (Niese)

The Brewers try to split win this series against the Mets tonight.

Tonight's Mets starter, Jon Niese (3.75 ERA, 3.80 FIP,) has only pitched 5.2 innings against the Brewers. That sample is too small to mean anything. Let's look at Niese the pitcher in more generalized terms. According to PitchF/X data, during the 2011 season Niese has been throwing a 4-seam fastball 43.3% of his pitches, followed by a curveball (21.5%) and a 2-seam fastball (16.4%.) His velocity for fastballs runs about 90, with a 74.3mph curve. His curve has a really drastic movement compared to his other pitches. His performance this year doesn't look like an outlier despite the lower ERA and FIP compared to his other MLB seasons; he's been delivering a fairly persistent 6-8 K/9, 3 BB/9 and WHIP around 1.2-1.4 since he began his pro career in 2006. He gives up groundballs about 48-50% of the time. Niese really hasn't had that much run support this year. He has given up 5 runs or more in 1/3 of his starts in 2011--which doesn't coincide with the losses he's been credited with. In 4 of his starts, the Mets scored 1 run or less including a 2-1 loss against the Phillies on April 30.

Yovani Gallardo's (3.72 ERA, 3.69 FIP) only started 4 times against the Mets, so that's also a small sample. I'll look at some other tiny samples instead: his last six starts of 2011. He hasn't had a loss in a start since May 2, where he pitched 5 innings against the Braves. This is also the last time he pitched less than 6 innings. He's only had 4 starts of less than 6 innings in 2011. That short start against the Braves is also his only sub-100-pitch outing for this season. Gallardo's having a good string of hit-allowing fortune. He's not given up more than 5 hits in those last six starts so even the inevitable home run that Yo gives up hasn't hurt him that much. Gallardo hasn't been walking as many batters in his last 5 starts than he usually does. One umpire with a wide strike zone and a series of balls that miss Roenicke's inventive shifts could really sink Gallardo's performance.

Today's lineup:

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

In the bullpen:

John Axford pitched 1 inning (18 pitches) last night.
Zach Braddock pitched 0.2 innings (15 pitches) last night and 1 inning (14 pitches) Tuesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 0.2 innings (18 pitches) last night.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (8 pitches) Tuesday.
Marco Estrada pitched 1 inning (22 pitches) Tuesday.
Tim Dillard pitched 1 inning (17 pitches) Monday and 1.2 innings (14 pitches) Sunday.