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Today's Match Up: Milwaukee (Greinke) at Houston (Norris)

Better than:  Kotsay, Counsell
Better than: Kotsay, Counsell

The Brewers have a chance to go for the sweep today!  On the road!  Granted, it's against perhaps the worst team the MLB has to offer this year, but I'll take it!

In hopes of preventing that, the Astros have Bud Norris (5-7, 3.47) taking the mound.  Norris is a 26 year old right hander who can put up some big strikeout numbers including a season K/9 of  8.67 and a career K/9 of 8.94.  He'll walk a fair amount of hitters (career BB/9 of 4), but he should be a good pitcher for years to come for the Astros.  This year, he has a 3.78 FIP and a 3.53 xFIP.  He allows practically the same amount of ground balls as fly balls.  For some reason, batters make contact 10% more than the league average on balls Norris throws outside of the strike zone.

Norris has been much better against right handers than lefties this year.  Against righties, he allows an opponent line of .206/.286/.340 whereas against lefties that line becomes .291/.350/.471.  Norris isn't that much better at home (.714 opponent OPS) than on the road (.744) though his ERA is still nearly a full run lower when playing in Houston. 

Norris throws three main pitches: a 93 MPH four seamer, an 86 MPH slider, and an 83 MPH changeup.  This year, only his slider has positive value according to fangraphs, but that positive value is nearly a whopping 20 runs better than the average, so look out Corey Hart.  The slider is also his only positive value pitch over his career.

Four Brewers hitters have faced Norris at least ten times.  Here is how they have fared:

PA Slash Line
Ryan Braun 15 .357/.400/.857
Prince Fielder 14 .154/.213/.231
Felipe Lopez 12 .000/.333/.000
Casey Mcgehee 11 .273/.273/.364


For the Brewers, it will be Zack Greinke (9-4, 4.41) getting the call.  Since July 3, when his ERA ballooned to 5.66, Greinke has been nothing short of fantastic.  In five games, he has a 1.71 ERA, a .645 opponent OPS, a K/9 of 11.08, a BB/9 of 2.27, and has averaged over six innings a start.  It looks like Greinke's ERA has definitely turned the corner on the season at this point and that is very, very good news for Brewers fans.  He us currently sitting at a 3.02 FIP and 2.25 xFIP, by the way.  The only Astro to have faced Zack Greinke at least ten times is Carlos Lee, who has a .154/.154/.385 line against him.

Waiter, there's no Hairston in my soup:

CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Felipe Lopez
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Mark Kotsay
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
3B Craig Counsell
Jonathan Lucroy
P Zack Greinke

The Brewers quad closers were in full effect yesterday:

John Axford pitched one inning (18 pitches) yesterday.
Takashi Saito pitched .2 innings (10 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) yesterday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched one inning (13 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (10 pitches) on Wednesday.
Marco Estrada last pitched on Tuesday.
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (9 pitches) Friday.