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Today's Game: Brewers (Wolf) at Cubs (Garza)

The last time I wrote a game preview and praised Randy Wolf (13-9, 3.45 ERA, 4.31 FIP), he pitched terribly, so I think I'm going to avoid doing that today. I don't really think I need to do that anyway. We all know how good Wolf has been this year. In fact, that start linked above is the last time Wolf pitched poorly. Wolf's most recent start must much better. He allowed 3 ER over 7 innings against the Reds. He allowed 7 H and no walks while striking out 7.  

Wolf has faced the Cubs three times this season, resulting in one Brewer win and two losses. Wolf pitched well in all three of those starts, pitching at least 6 innings and never allowing more than 2 ER. He most recently faced the Cubs back on Aug 26th. Over 6.2 innings he allowed 1 ER (2 R) on 4 H and 2 BB while striking out 3. In his career against the Cubs Wolf is 6-10 with a 4.01 ERA. Eight Cubs have faced wolf at least 10 times.

PA slashline
Alfonso Soriano 37 .219/.297/.406
Aramis Ramirez 35 .182/.229/.333
Geovanny Soto 29 .296/.345/.667
Jeff Baker 22 .429/.455/.667
Starlin Castro 15 .333/.333/.600
Marlon Byrd 14 .308/.357/.846
Ryan Dempster 14 .091/.091/.091
Reed Johnson 12 .167/.167/.167

Wolf will be taking on Matt Garza (8-10, 3.51, 3.07 FIP), who continues to have a pretty good year. His last start was one of his best of the year. He pitched a complete game against the Astros, allowing 3 ER on 7 H, no walks, and striking out 4. It was his second complete game of the year. He has been exceptionally good recently, with a 2.54 ERA over his last nine starts. Garza's H/9 and BB/9 have both gone up this year, but his FIP has dropped dramatically since last season. This change from 4.42 to 3.07 FIP is probably do in large part to his drop in HR/9 and rise in K/9. He's striking out about 2.5 more batters per 9 this year compared to last. His home run rate has also dropped from 1.2/9 last year to .7/9 this year.  

This will be the third time Garza has faced the Crew this year. Neither start was particularly good; he allowed 5 ER in both starts and didn't pitch more than 6 innings in either start. In his career against the Crew, Garza is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA. Only two Brewers have faced Garza at least 10 times. George Kottaras has a homer in 4 ABs against Garza. 

PA slashline
Yuni Betancourt 21 .238/.238/.286
Mark Kotsay 11 .273/.273/.364

Today's lineup

Brewers Cubs
Corey Hart RF Starlin Castro SS
Nyjer Morgan CF DJ LeMahieu 3B
Ryan Braun LF Reed Johnson RF
Prince Fielder 1B Jeff Baker 2B
Rickie Weeks 2B Geovanny Soto C
Jerry Hairston 3B Marlon Byrd CF
Yuni Betancourt SS Alfonso Soriano LF
George Kottaras C Bryan LaHair 1B
Randy Wolf LHP Matt Garza RHP

In the bullpen...
Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (19 pitches) last night.
Tim Dillard pitched two innings (18 pitches) Monday.
Marco Estrada pitched two innings (32 pitches) Monday.
Takashi Saito pitched one inning (5 pitches) Sunday.
Frankie De La Cruz, Kameron Loe and LaTroy Hawkins last pitched on Saturday.
John Axford last pitched on Friday.
Michael Fiers last pitched on Wednesday.

It should be a beautiful day in the Windy City today. Party cloudy with temps in the high 60s. Winds from the WSW at 10-20 MPH. Chance of rain at about 10%.