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Today's Matchup: Brewers (Wolf) at Cardinals (Westbrook)

Starting a series with a day game, holiday or not, is kind of ridiculous. The Brewers have hardly had time to put away their cowboy hats.

Nonetheless, at 3:15 today they'll face Jake Westbrook (4.72 ERA, 4.37 FIP). No matter what happens today the results can't be much worse than the last time he pitched against the Brewers: He held the Crew to three runs (two earned) on eight hits over five innings and hit a grand slam in an 8-3 St. Louis victory. He only threw 66 pitches in the outing.

FanGraphs says Westbrook throws a ~90 mph two seam fastball about 64% of the time, and that was more or less true against the Brewers on Thursday. He threw less than ten changeups, sliders and curves...but again, it was a short outing.

Westbrook has faced the Brewers three times this season and his results have been solid but unspectacular: He's allowed nine earned runs on 20 hits over 18 innings (a 4.50 ERA), walking six and striking out five. Eight current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Mark Kotsay 34 .333 .424 .593 1.017
Yuniesky Betancourt 19 .316 .316 .474 .789
Prince Fielder 15 .417 .467 .750 1.217
Ryan Braun 12 .600 .667 .800 1.467
Corey Hart 12 .444 .583 1.222 1.806
Jerry Hairston 11 .200 .273 .200 .473
Casey McGehee 11 .000 .091 .000 .091
Nyjer Morgan 11 .273 .273 .273 .545

He'll face Randy Wolf (3.58 ERA, 4.39 FIP), who could really use a good outing. Wolf got shelled against the Cardinals on Wednesday, allowing six runs on seven hits over five innings. He hit two batters in the game and allowed Jake Westbrook's aforementioned grand slam. That outing snapped a streak of 15 straight starts where he'd pitched at least six innings.

Allowing three home runs on Wednesday bumped some of Wolf's peripheral numbers back to their normal levels. He's now allowing 1.01 home runs per nine innings pitches and homers on 9% of fly balls, reasonably close to career averages of 1.13 and 10.4%. This number, however, should be a little more concerning: His 5.69 K/9 in 2011 is a career low.

This is Wolf's fifth start against the Cardinals, and three of his four previous outings against them have been pretty poor. Overall he's allowed 18 earned runs on 28 hits over 24 innings (a 6.75 ERA) and struck out eight while allowing five home runs. Virtually every Cardinal has faced him ten times or more:

Rafael Furcal 50 .250 .240 .396 .636
Albert Pujols 49 .275 .327 .500 .877
Matt Holliday 43 .250 .372 .500 .872
Lance Berkman 39 .094 .256 .156 .413
Yadier Molina 34 .235 .235 .412 .647
Ryan Theriot 34 .250 .294 .281 .575
David Freese 15 .357 .400 .357 .757
Corey Patterson 15 .429 .429 .571 1.000
Allen Craig 12 .083 .083 .083 .167

Here's today's lineup:

Corey Hart RF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Taylor Green 3B
Jerry Hairston Jr 2B
George Kottaras C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Randy Wolf P

And in the bullpen:

Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (15 pitches) yesterday.
Takashi Saito pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe
pitched 2 innings (22 pitches) Saturday.
Marco Estrada pitched 1 inning (15 pitches) Saturday.
Frankie De La Cruz pitched 1 inning (10 pitches) Saturday.

LaTroy Hawkins
and John Axford last pitched on Friday.


Rain won't be a factor in today's game, but wind might be. The Weather Channel is predicting temps in the low 70's with north winds over 20 mph this afternoon.