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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) vs. Reds (Arroyo)

Here's Bronson Arroyo, and his signature pitching motion.
Here's Bronson Arroyo, and his signature pitching motion.

With the horrific road trip over, the Brewers are back at Miller Park. Despite everything that has happened, it's time for a good homestand and to get back on track.

For the Reds, Bronson Arroyo (3.03 ERA, 3.82 FIP) is making his 22nd career start against the Brewers. Arroyo is having a bounce-back season so far in 2012. His ERA and FIP have both dramatically decreased in 2012 (5.07/5.71 ERA/FIP in 2011, 3.03/3.82 ERA/FIP in 2012). What has helped him so far this season is that his walk rate (2.04 BB/9 in 2011, 0.83 BB/9 in 2012) and home run rate (2.08 HR/9 in 2011, 1.10 HR/9 in 2012) are both down in 2012. In his last start against the Cubs, he allowed three earned runs in six innings, striking out three and walking one.

Bronson Arroyo has changed up his pitches a little in 2012. He is throwing his fastball much less this season (29.8% in 2011, 15.1% in 2012) and is throwing his slider (16.6% in 2011, 27.0% in 2012) and cutter (3.4% in 2011, 10.6% in 2012) more often. In total, FanGraphs lists seven pitches that Bronson Arroyo uses. Here is a breakdown of those pitches:

Pitch Frequency Avg. Speed
Fastball 15.1% 86.1 MPH
Curveball 11.9% 70.5 MPH
Changeup 13.7% 79.5 MPH
Slider 27.0% 75.7 MPH
Sinker 18.4% 87.1 MPH
Cutter 10.6% 84.7 MPH
Splitter 3.1% 77.8 MPH

Over his career against the Brewers, he has posted a .244/.316/.442 batting line against the Brewers to go with a 3.82 ERA and 1.273 WHIP. Six Brewers have faced Bronson Arroyo ten times or more, with average or worse results.

Aramis Ramirez 58 .185 .241 .315 .556
Ryan Braun 42 .263 .333 .553 .886
Rickie Weeks 39 .171 .256 .429 .685
Cesar Izturis 25 .273 .333 .318 .652
Corey Hart 23 .263 .348 .263 .611
Nyjer Morgan 18 .214 .353 .286 .639

On the Brewers side, there was a miscommunication on the probable starter. Yovani Gallardo was originally projected for today, but instead, it will be Marco Estrada (3.71 ERA, 4.78 FIP) making the start tonight, with Gallardo pitching tomorrow. Estrada has not pitched since his last start on April 28 against the Cardinals, where he pitched six innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. In his two starts, he made 78 pitches in both starts. The Brewers could use a long start out of him tonight to get the bullpen some rest after using five relievers yesterday, with three pitching in the last two games.

Estrada has had some success against the Reds, limiting them to a 3.21 ERA and 0.929 WHIP in five previous appearances, one of those as a starter. His one start came in April of 2011, and it might have been his best start that season. He pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

No current member of the Cincinnati Reds has faced Estrada ten times or more. Jay Bruce (.333/.429/.833/1.262) and Joey Votto (.400/.571/1.000/1.571) have the most plate appearances at seven, and both have two hits and one home run off of Estrada.

Here is tonight's lineup for the Brewers (h/t Mike Vassalo):

Norichika Aoki CF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Cesar Izturis SS
Marco Estrada RHP

In the bullpen:

Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (7 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Friday and Saturday.
Tim Dillard pitched 0.1 innings (17 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Saturday.
Manny Parra pitched 0.1 innings (5 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Saturday.
Jose Veras pitched 1.2 innings (35 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (11 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford last pitched on Friday.
Vinnie Chulk wants to pitch more often so he doesn't become the new Tim Dillard, but it's not looking good.