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Today's Matchup: Milwaukee (Estrada) vs. Pirates (Correia)

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Day 77: Food scarce in clubhouse. We have decided to take lessons from beavers.
Day 77: Food scarce in clubhouse. We have decided to take lessons from beavers.

If you're looking for a fun pitching matchup, this game isn't it.

Kevin Correia (5-6, 4.34) is not a pitcher who inspires much hype. He's kind of what Randy Wolf is supposed to be. He'll pitch some innings, not be flashy, and he'll usually have mediocre outings. He'll have some very nice outings (he started the year with a 2.42 ERA after one month), but he'll also throw in some duds (three outings of five earned runs or more).

Correia has never been one to strike out a lot of hitters. This year, he's been exceptionally bad at it, with a career low 3.45 K/9. He also has a 2.66 BB/9, something that is lower from most of his earlier seasons and second only to last year for lowest career number. He gives up home runs at a high rate (1.38 HR/9). He has a 5.24 FIP, a 4.77 xFIP and, to make things bleaker, has been getting very lucky with a .252 BABIP.

It's very dull to watch or write about Kevin Correia. There is nothing flashy or interesting about him. He's not good enough nor bad enough to warrant real mention about. He's basically the perfect candidate to no-hit the Brewers for seven innings.

Correia throws five pitches: A 90 MPH four seamer (28%), an 87 MPH slider (24%), a 91 MPH two seamer (18%), a 77 MPH curve (13%), and an 86 MPH changeup (11%). He has faced six current Brewers at least ten times. Here is how they have fared:

Player PA Line
Ryan Braun 28 .308/.357/.654
Aramis Ramirez 23 .286/.348/.429
Rickie Weeks 21 .263/.333/.368
Corey Hart 16 .267/.313/.533
Nyjer Morgan 13 .250/.250/.500
Cesar Izturis 10 .600/.600/.700

For the Brewers, Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.06) will take the mound. Since returning from the DL following a groin strain, Estrada has made two (and a half) starts. Two were actual starts while the third was a relief appearance when Zack Greinke started in his place after being ejected early in the game the day before. Over those three appearances, Estrada has a 3.00 ERA and a .535 opponents OPS.

Estrada would be having a hell of a season if it weren't for so many blasted home runs, as evidenced by a 3.36 xFIP. Estrada has a 9.71 K/9 (tops among Brewers starters and 5th in all the MLB among pitchers with at least 50 innings) and a 1.76 BB/9 (second--barely--to only Michael Fiers among Brewers starters and 12th in the MLB among pitchers with at least 50 innings).

Unfortunately, Estrada also has a 1.98 HR/9. He has given up 11 home runs in 14 games, with those home runs counting towards 19 of Estrada's 23 earned runs given up. Obviously some of those runs would have scored anyway, but if Estrada weren't giving up so many homers his ERA could easily be in the low-to-mid 3.00s.

Estrada has yet to face a current Pirate hitter at least ten times.

Lineup:

Aoki 8
Ishikawa 3
Braun 7
Ramirez 5
Hart 9
Weeks 4
Maldonado 2
Izturis 6
Estrada 1

In the Bullpen:

Jose Veras pitched one inning (15 pitches) last night.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (23 pitches) last night.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (18 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched one inning (25 pitches) last night.
The rest of the bullpen should be well-rested following the All-Star break.