After a week at Wrigley in April, tonight in Atlanta the Brewers must feel like they're on a tropical vacation.
We'll get to see if rising temperatures heat up their bats against Jair Jurrjens (6.23/9.55 ERA/FIP in 2012, 2.96/3.99 ERA/FIP in 2011), who is coming off a rough start to his season. The 26-year-old native of Curacao was the losing pitcher in the Braves' second game of the season against the Mets on Saturday, allowing three runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings. He walked three and struck out three in the game while allowing two home runs.
Jurrjens pitched 152 innings in the majors in 2011 before being shut down with a knee injury and missing the month of September. He pitched a full spring this year, though, so it looks like he's healthy again. When he's at full strength he has a low 90's fastball, throws a lot of changeups and some sliders. In 2010 and 2011 his average fastball velocity dipped below 90. It was all the way down to 87.5 last season.
Jurrjens only faced the Brewers one time last year, beating them on May 2. He allowed two runs on seven hits over 7.2 innings in that game, walking none and striking out four. Three Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Randy Wolf (5.40/1.26 ERA/FIP in 2012, 3.69/4.29 ERA/FIP in 2011), who is coming off a tightrope walk of an outing against the Cardinals on Sunday. Wolf pitched five innings in his debut outing, allowing eleven baserunners (nine hits, a walk and a hit batsman) but just three runs while striking out seven.
If Wolf keeps giving up hits at this rate it probably won't matter, but his walk and strikeout numbers from Sunday were interesting. He only had one start in all of 2011 where he picked up more than seven strikeouts, and walked more than one batter in 22 of his 33 appearances.
Wolf has faced the Braves 28 times in his career, but did not face them last season. Seven Braves have faced him ten times or more:
Here's tonight's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Mat Gamel 1B
Alex Gonzalez SS
George Kottaras C
Randy Wolf P
And in the bullpen:
Manny Parra pitched 2.1 innings (35 pitches) yesterday.
Tim Dillard pitched two innings (21 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (29 pitches) Wednesday.
John Axford pitched one inning (20 pitches) Wednesday.
Kameron Loe, Marco Estrada and Jose Veras haven't pitched since Tuesday.
The weather for tonight's game should be a non-factor, with no rain in the forecast and temperatures expected to be in the 60's throughout the night.