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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) vs Cubs (Dempster)

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The Cubs beat the Brewers on May 13 to improve to 14-20, but have gone just 4-16 since. Hopefully the Brewers can keep that tailspin going tonight.

When these two teams take the field tonight Yovani Gallardo (4.22 ERA, 3.78 FIP) will be on the mound for the Brewers, and he's been pretty good lately. A bad seventh inning messed up his numbers a bit on Wednesday but he still held the Dodgers to three runs on eight hits over six innings, walking three and tying a season-high with eight strikeouts. All six of his starts in May were of the "quality" variety.

Gallardo is really due for a huge strikeout game. As I mentioned above, he hasn't struck out more than eight in a game this season. He struck out nine or more eight times last year. It's also worth noting, though, that his strikeout pace was slow in April and May of last year too: He struck out 7.6 batters per nine innings in the season's first third last year, then 9.8 after June 1.

Gallardo's first win of the season came against the Cubs on April 11, when he held them to a run on five hits over seven innings. Four current Cubs have faced him ten times or more:

Starlin Castro 22 .350 .364 .500 .864
Alfonso Soriano 20 .150 .150 .200 .350
Ian Stewart 15 .538 .533 1.154 1.687
Darwin Barney 12 .182 .250 .182 .432

He'll face Ryan Dempster (2.90 ERA, 3.47 FIP), who remains remarkably effective at 35 years old. He's coming off his worst start of the season on Wednesday, though, when he allowed six runs to the Padres on six hits and four walks over 4.1 innings.

This is where I'd normally give you a scouting report on Dempster, but Jordan did a better job than I'd do earlier today. Scroll down and read his post, then come back here.

Gallardo and the Brewers beat Dempster on April 11, when he allowed two runs over 6.2 innings. Five Brewer position players have faced Dempster ten times or more:

Ryan Braun 52 .239 .327 .457 .783
Rickie Weeks 48 .231 .354 .256 .611
Corey Hart 47 .195 .298 .463 .761
Aramis Ramirez 28 .240 .286 .240 .526
Nyjer Morgan 21 .000 .105 .000 .105


And in the bullpen:

Kameron Loe pitched 1.2 innings (21 pitches) Sunday.
Juan Perez pitched 0.1 innings (3 pitches) Sunday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (11 pitches) Sunday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (19 pitches) Sunday.
Jose Veras
pitched an inning (10 pitches) Saturday.
Tim Dillard
pitched 2 innings (44 pitches) Friday.
Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (6 pitches) Thursday.