The Brewers have 14 games to play, they're all against sub-.500 teams and eight of them are at home. It's time to leave the Cardinals and Diamondbacks in the dust.
The Brewers will open a short series tonight with Zack Greinke (3.93 ERA, 2.97 FIP) on the mound, and that's almost always been good news lately. Greinke has made eleven starts since the All Star break and ten of them have been of the quality variety. Last time out he allowed two runs on eight hits to the Cardinals over seven innings, walking none and striking out four on just 87 pitches. He's pitched six innings or more in each of his last 13 starts.
Greinke's season is, as you likely know, one of the more fascinating statistical anomalies in Brewer history. He's only the second pitcher in franchise history to throw more than 100 innings with over 10 K/9 (Ben Sheets in 2004 was the other), but his ERA is still nearly four. Among pitchers with more than 100 innings pitched and ten strikeouts per nine, that's the 15th highest in major league history.
This is Greinke's third start against the Rockies in 2011: On May 20 he allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings, and on July 16 he allowed three unearned runs on five hits, also over six innings. He walked two and struck out 17 in those outings. Four Rockies have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Esmil Rogers (6.26 ERA, 4.81 FIP), who is likely to set a new career high for innings pitched tonight despite the fact that he's having a pretty poor season. Rogers is at 69 innings this season and threw 72 in 2010. He allows a lot of baserunners: five walks and 11.6 hits per nine innings this season, good for a 1.841 WHIP. He's also fairly vulnerable to the long ball, having given up one every nine innings.
Rogers throws hard (averaging 94 mph on his fastball) but it hasn't been doing him much good this season: FanGraphs estimates his fastball's value at -1.04 runs per 100 pitches. His slider is pretty good, but he also throws a below average curve and changeup. He's righthanded but is worse against righties (.881 OPS against) than lefties (.841).
Rogers hasn't faced the Brewers this season, but allowed four runs on nine hits over 5.2 innings in a start against them last season. No current Brewers have faced him more than three times. The Brewers that have seen him, though, are a combined 9-for-23 for a .391/.417/.435 line.
RF Corey Hart
CF Nyjer Morgan
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
2B Rickie Weeks
3B Casey McGehee
SS Yuni Betancourt
C Jon Lucroy
P Zack Greinke
In the bullpen:
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (20 pitches) Sunday, and also pitched on Saturday.
John Axford pitched one inning (18 pitches) Sunday, and also pitched on Saturday.
LaTroy Hawkins last pitched on Saturday.
Takashi Saito and Kameron Loe last pitched on Friday.
Tim Dillard, Frankie De La Cruz and Marco Estrada last pitched on Thursday.
Michael Fiers last pitched on Monday, September 5 for Nashville.