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Today's Matchup: Milwaukee (Gallardo) vs Chicago (Dempster)

The Brewers are looking to clinch another series victory today.

Pitching for the Cubs today will be Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60) who is a long ways from his 2.96 ERA 2008, despite him posting a fine 3.72 FIP and 3.45 xFIP.  His 8.70 K/9 is only .01 short of his career high (set in 2005) and is .56 higher than in that fantastic 2008 season.  Similarly, his 3.31 BB/9 is also the second best number of his career and is equal to that of his 2008.  One big difference between this year and 2008 is Dempster's HR/9--0.61 three years ago and over 1 this season.  That difference actually makes his xFIP this year better than 2008, when he had a 3.69 FIP.  In the last four seasons, Dempster actually hasn't had an FIP or xFIP in the 4.00s or higher.  It probably shouldn't be surprising, then, that in 2009 and 2010 his ERAs were also very good--3.65 and 3.85, respectively.  He had an absolutely awful start to 2011, however, finishing April with a 9.58 ERA and giving up no fewer than four runs in each of his five starts.  His stats have normalized since then and Dempster has a 3.41 ERA and .691 OPS against since the beginning of May.  More recently, he has a 2.77 ERA in four August starts and has gone six or seven innings in all four. 

Dempster has been much more effective against right handers than lefties this season.  In 2011, he's giving up a .237/.302/.407 line ro rightys and a .299/.367/.460 line to southpaws.  Dempster has also pitched poorly on the Road, with a .297/.366/.488 opponent line outside of Wrigley and a .237/.302/.407 in the north side of Chicago. 

Dempster will predominantly throw a 91 MPH two seamer, a 91 MPH four seamer and an 85 MPH slider, but has also mixed in an 82 MPH changeup and an 87 MPH splitter.  Fangraphs has his fastball well below average both this season and throughout Dempster's career, with his splitter and slider both garnering positive values. 

As would be expected, plenty of Brewers have had many chances against Dempster.  Here's how they've fared:

PA Line
Prince Fielder 53 .244/.358/.488
Ryan Braun 50 .227/.320/.432
Corey Hart 44 .154/.250/.359
Craig Counsell 33 .250/.364/.393
Casey McGehee 28 .320/.393/.480
Randy Wolf 17 .400/.400/.467
Mark Kotsay 15 .231/.333/.462
Nyjer Morgan 15 .000/.143/.000


For the Brewers, Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51)  will make the start.  Gallardo's 3.55 FIP and 3.45 xFIP are right by his current ERA, so we can probably expect him to continue pitching around the same level he's been at all year.  Gallardo's peripherals have made some major changes from 2010 as his 7.87 K/9 is nearly two strikeouts less than it was last season.  In addition, his HR/9 numbers are up from 0.58 to 0.96.  On the bright side, he's also cut back on his walks, which had been his biggest problem in previous years.  His BB/9 is down to 2.66 in 2011, down from 3.65 in 2010.  Despite both his FIP and xFIP being up, his ERA has dropped 33 points from last season.  In Gallardo's last outing, against the Mets last weekend, he went seven innings and gave up just two runs while striking out six.  In four August starts, Gallardo has gone at least seven innings three times and eight innings twice. 

Five different Cubs have faced Gallardo at least ten times.  Here is how they have fared:

PA Line
Geovany Soto 20 .278/.350/.667
Aramis Ramirez 17 .400/.471/.667
Starlin Castro 15 .400/.400/.600
Alfonso Soriano 14 .143/.143/.214
Tyler Colvin 12 .167/.167/.250


Here's today's lineup:

Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jerry Hairston Jr 2B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yovani Gallardo P

In the Bullpen:

Takashi Saito pitched .1 innings (4 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (11 pitches) yesterday
John Axford pitched 1 innings (27 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe and LaTroy Hawkins last pitched on Tuesday.
Frankie De La Cruz and Chris Narveson last pitched on Monday.