At the risk of jinxing it, I think you have to feel pretty good about the Brewers' chances of clinching a series victory today.
After years of watching other teams hit him around today the Brewers will face Jeff Suppan (12.15/3.95 ERA/FIP in AAA in 2012), making his first major league appearance since finishing the 2010 season with the Cardinals. Suppan is something of an emergency starter for the Padres after Cory Luebke, who was expected to pitch today, had his start pushed back due to elbow soreness. Suppan last pitched for AAA Tucson on Thursday and allowed four runs on ten hits over 3.2 innings. That 3.2 inning outing was his longest of 2012 to date.
I probably don't need to spend too much time telling you about Suppan's arsenal. He usually won't strike many guys out (less than five per nine innings) and is prone to giving up home runs (1.19 per nine for his career). FanGraphs has his fastball around 87 mph with a steady mix of curves, sliders and changeups.
Suppan has faced the Brewers 22 times in his career but only once since 2006. Five current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Yovani Gallardo (6.08/4.10 ERA/FIP), who for the second time this season needs a nice bounceback performance to recover from a dreadful start against the Cardinals. Gallardo was the losing pitcher on Friday when he allowed eight runs on eight hits over two innings, walking two and striking out three. On the up side, he only threw 68 pitches in the game so he should be reasonably well rested.
Despite having an ERA over six, Gallardo has done a reasonably good job this season of keeping the ball in the ballpark. Gallardo gave up four home runs to the Cardinals on Opening Day but hasn't given one up since, a 23 inning streak. That's already the fifth longest streak of his major league career.
Gallardo has faced the Padres four times in his career and had a solid performance against them in 2012, allowing just two runs on five hits over six innings in their only matchup. The only Padre who has faced him ten times before is Orlando Hudson, who is hitting .214/.214/.214 in 15 plate appearances.
Here's tonight's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Alex Gonzalez SS
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Yovani Gallardo P
And in the bullpen:
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (18 pitches) last night, and has appeared in three straight games.
Kameron Loe pitched two innings (21 pitches) Monday.
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (14 pitches) Monday.
Jose Veras and John Axford last pitched on Sunday.
Manny Parra last pitched on Friday.
Vinnie Chulk hasn't pitched in the majors since X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the #1 movie in America in 2009.
As always, the weather in San Diego should not be a factor today. The game time temperature should be in the low 60's and won't fall far from there overnight.