With that out of the way, welcome back to baseball at Miller Park.
Randy Wolf (3.45 ERA, 4.16 FIP) will take the mound as the Brewers resume play after over 48 hours between games. This is Wolf's fifth August start and the results have been somewhat mixed: He's had two excellent starts (eight innings each, one combined run against the Cardinals and Dodgers) and two rough outings (12.1 combined innings, ten runs on 17 hits against the Cardinals and Mets). His last outing was one of the rough ones, as he allowed five runs to the Mets on eight hits over 6.1 innings, walking one and striking out three.
Wolf's ability to pitch relatively deep into games is becoming an interesting story: He's only the 19th pitcher in Brewer history to pitch six innings or more in 14 straight starts, and the first since CC Sabathia in 2008. Tonight he could become the first Brewer to do it in 15 straight games since Chris Capuano's 17 start streak in 2006.
Wolf is facing the Cubs for the third time this season. On April 8 he got roughed up, allowing six runs on nine hits over six innings. In June he he pitched seven shutout innings in a 1-0 Brewer loss. Six Cub position players have faced him ten times or more:
Soriano, Soto and Byrd all have multiple career home runs against Wolf.
He'll face veteran journeyman Rodrigo Lopez (4.97 ERA, 5.17 FIP), pitching for his sixth organization since 2006. Lopez is making his 21st appearance and eleventh start for the Cubs since coming over in a minor deal in May, and led the NL with 111 earned runs and 37 home runs allowed as a Diamondback last season. He last pitched on Sunday, allowing five runs on ten hits to the Cardinals in 5.1 innings with a walk and four strikeouts. He allowed four home runs in that game.
Lopez throws a high 80's fastball but relies heavily on a slider (26% of pitches) and changeup (17%). The slider has been a pretty good pitch in 2011 at +1.02 runs per 100. His changeup (-4.90 runs per 100) might be one of the worst pitches in baseball.
Lopez faced the Brewers twice as a reliever in June, allowing two runs on four hits over two innings of work. Two Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Jerry Hairston Jr, Corey Hart and Casey McGehee have all homered against him.
Here's tonight's lineup:
Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jerry Hairston Jr 2B
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf P
And in the bullpen:
Takashi Saito pitched one inning (12 pitches) Wednesday.
Tim Dillard pitched .2 innings (eight pitches) Wednesday.
John Axford pitched .1 innings (five pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe and LaTroy Hawkins last pitched on Tuesday.
Frankie De La Cruz, Tim Dillard and Chris Narveson last pitched on Monday.
Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Sunday.