Tonight seems like as good a night as any to get back on track.
If nothing else, the Brewers are facing Bronson Arroyo (5.28 ERA, 5.65 FIP). After breaking 200 innings for six straight seasons, Arroyo seems unlikely to get there in 2011: He's at 175.2 with at most three starts remaining. He's also on pace to post an ERA over 5 for the first time since 2001. He's coming off a disaster start against the Astros on Saturday, where he allowed six runs on seven hits in one inning, including three home runs.
The long ball has been Arroyo's nemesis this season: He's allowed 40 on the year to tie a Reds record. He's actually been worse lately: In his last 14 starts he's allowed 23 (good for 2.43 per nine innings). Arroyo throws a very hittable high 80's fastball, but interestingly enough FanGraphs rates his slider, curve and cutter as plus pitches.
Arroyo has faced the Brewers twice this season and the Reds have won both games. Both contests were in April: He held the Crew to three runs on six hits over seven innings on April 3 and two runs (one earned) on six hits over 6.1 innings on April 25. Nine Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
It's time for our daily reminder that Mark Kotsay's "vs pitcher" stats are often deceiving: He's 1-for-7 against Arroyo since 2005.
Arroyo will face Randy Wolf (3.44 ERA, 4.41 FIP), who needs 6.1 innings of work to pass 200 innings for the third consecutive season. If he gets there he'll only be the 17th Brewer in franchise history with two 200 IP seasons, and the first to do it in back-to-back seasons since Chris Capuano and Doug Davis in 2005-06. Wolf allowed two runs to the Phillies over seven innings on Saturday, giving up eight hits and two walks while striking out just one.
Wolf's low strikeout totals are something we discuss a lot, but his single K against the Phillies on Saturday tied a season low. He's averaging just 4.4 strikeouts per nine innings since June 18, down from a season average of 5.53.
Wolf is facing the Reds for the second time this season: On April 3 they lit him up for six runs on ten hits over four innings, and on July 10 he held them to three runs on seven hits over seven innings. Seven Reds have faced him ten times or more:
Here's tonight's lineup:
Nyjer Morgan CF
Mark Kotsay RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Rickie Weeks 2B
Taylor Green 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf P
And in the bullpen:
Chris Narveson pitched two innings (23 pitches) Wednesday, and is expected to start on Monday.
Marco Estrada pitched one inning (22 pitches) Wednesday.
Michael Fiers pitched one inning (21 pitches) Wednesday.
John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Kameron Loe, LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito last pitched on Tuesday.
Tim Dillard and Frankie De La Cruz last pitched on Thursday, September 8.
No issues on the horizon: Game time temperature will be around 60 and dropping into the 50's during the game.