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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Greinke) vs Marlins (Zambrano)

Tonight: Less green jerseys, more winning.
Tonight: Less green jerseys, more winning.

One of three things is going to happen tonight:

  • The Brewers are going to win and launch a hot streak that propels them back into contention,
  • The Brewers are going to lose and raise the possibility that this is one of Zack Greinke's final Brewer starts, or
  • The Brewers are going to win tonight, lose tomorrow and remain in this not contending/not selling limbo.

With Zack Greinke (2.82 ERA, 2.21 FIP) on the mound, you have to like the Brewers chances. Greinke has been very good as a Brewer but even better at Miller Park, where he has a 2.47 ERA in 22 career appearances. He pitched six innings against the Reds on Wednesday, allowing two runs on five hits over six innings. He has a 1.67 ERA over his last six starts.

This is only Greinke's fourth Miller Park start since April. Four of his five June appearances were on the road, as were four of his six May starts. He's allowed just one run in his last 22.2 innings in Milwaukee, a streak dating all the way back to April 23.

Greinke has faced the Marlins four times in his career, including twice last season when he allowed a combined six runs on 16 hits over 12 innings. The only current Marlin who's faced him ten times or more is Omar Infante, who has a .222/.222/.444 line over 19 plate appearances.

The Brewers, meanwhile, will face a familiar foe in Carlos Zambrano (3.71 ERA, 4.29 FIP), who they're seeing for the first time since he moved from the Cubs to the Marlins this winter. Zambrano has already pitched 89.2 innings this season, meaning he's on pace to throw over 170 innings for the first time since 2008. The Marlins have lost each of his last four starts, though, including Tuesday when he allowed five unearned runs to the Cardinals on seven hits over 6.2 innings.

Zambrano's average fastball velocity has declined pretty steadily since the mid 2000's and now sits just under 90 on average, but FanGraphs would suggest he's throwing the pitch less than 50% of the time this season for the first time. He's now mixing in a lot more splitters and cutters, and the two combine to form over 40% of his arsenal.

Zambrano has faced the Brewers 34 times in his career, including three starts last season. Five current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Rickie Weeks 54 .240 .296 .380 .676
Ryan Braun 47 .256 .319 .395 .714
Corey Hart 42 .278 .381 .389 .770
Nyjer Morgan 30 .357 .379 .393 .772
Cesar Izturis 10 .111 .200 .222 .422

Here's tonight's Brewer lineup:

Carlos Gomez CF
Nyjer Morgan RF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart 1B
Rickie Weeks 2B
Martin Maldonado C
Cesar Izturis SS
Zack Greinke P

And in the bullpen:

Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (18 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched one inning (17 pitches) last night.
Jose Veras pitched .1 innings (6 pitches) last night.
Tim Dillard pitched two innings (35 pitches) Saturday.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (19 pitches) Saturday.
Kameron Loe and Livan Hernandez last pitched on Friday.

According to the Miller Park Roof Hotline the roof will be open for tonight's game, but with a chance of isolated showers comes the possibility that it will close at some point. There's a heat advisory in effect until 10 pm tonight, so if you're out there be sure to keep hydrated.