The Cardinals have already won today, so the Brewers need a win tonight to drop their magic number to seven.
They'll be looking for that win with Shaun Marcum (3.25 ERA, 3.59 FIP) on the mound, looking for an opportunity to bounce back. Marcum had produced quality starts in six straight appearances and ten of his last eleven before firing up a dud on Friday, allowing five runs on nine hits to the Phillies over 6.2 innings.He struck out just two and walked four in that game.
Coming into the 2011 season we'd all heard plenty about Marcum's changeup, which has been his best pitch over the course of his career. Marcum is still using the changeup pretty extensively (25.7% of all pitches), but his cutter, slider and fastball have all been more effective this season according to FanGraphs. When you factor in his curve he's thrown five above-average pitches.
Marcum is facing the Rockies for the third time this season: He's allowed three runs on a combined eight hits over 13 innings, walking five and striking out 12 in the two prior meetings. The Brewers won both of those games. Three Rockies have faced Marcum ten times or more:
He'll face Kevin Millwood (3.79 ERA, 4.31 FIP), who is working hard in 2011 to get his picture next to the phrase "veteran journeyman" in the dictionary. Since leaving the Braves following the 2002 season Millwood has been a Phillie, Indian, Ranger, Oriole and Rockie and in 2011 he also pitched in the minors for the Red Sox and Yankees. Tonight he'll make his seventh start since joining the Rockies on August 10. He's pitching on a full week's rest: Last Wednesday he allowed four runs on ten hits over 5.2 innings against the Diamondbacks, walking none and striking out four.
Millwood is 36 years old but his stuff is roughly what it's always been: He throws a ~90 mph fastball with a plus slider and the occasional curve and change. This year he's also mixing in a cutter for the first time. It's worth noting that he's actually been better as a Rockie than he was in the minors with the Red Sox and Yankees: He posted a 4.32 ERA in 16 starts there. He's probably due for some regression: He's been stranding 82.9% of opposing baserunners for Colorado, up from 71.5% for his career.
Tonight is Millwood's first appearance against the Brewers since 2003, when he faced them as a member of the Phillies. Four Brewers have seen him ten times or more:
Kotsay's numbers are somewhat deceptive: 34 of those PAs came in 2003 or before, and he's 0-for-8 against Millwood since the start of the 2007 season. Counsell has also only faced Millwood four times since 2002.
Here's tonight's lineup:
Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Rickie Weeks 2B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Shaun Marcum P
John Axford pitched two innings (25 pitches) last night, and has pitched three times in the last four days.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (17 pitches) last night, and has pitched three times in the last four days.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (26 pitches) last night.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched one inning (14 pitches) last night.
Takashi Saito pitched one inning (8 pitches) last night.
Tim Dillard, Frankie De La Cruz and Marco Estrada last pitched on Thursday.
Michael Fiers last pitched on Monday, September 5 for Nashville.