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Today's Matchup: Milwaukee (Gallardo) at Cincinnati (Arroyo)

I know that contact fell around here somewhere.
I know that contact fell around here somewhere.

Bronson Arroyo (4-6, 4.03) had a lot of trouble with home runs last season, resulting in his worst year since 2001. He had a 2.08 HR/9, giving up a league-leading 46 home runs in 199 innings. Due in part to those excess longballs, his ERA ballooned to 5.07 with an FIP of 5.71. That was the worst FIP of his career, and the third worst ERA of his career--his worst ERA since 2001, his second year in the league.

Contributing to the poor year was a much lower K/9 as well. Arroyo has not been much of a strikeout pitcher in his career, but his 4.88 K/9 in 2011 is more than a strikeout fewer per nine innings than his career 5.90 rate, and was the third lowest K/9 of his career.

This year, both Arroyo's K/9 and HR/9 have gone back close to his career norms. He currently has a 6.13 K/9, close to his career 5.90 rate. In addition, his 1.29 HR/9 is very close to his career 1.23 rate. The biggest difference this year comes from his walks. Arroyo has had good control numbers in his career, but his current 1.53 is the lowest of his career. Prior to this season, he never had a BB/9 below 2.04.

The result has been a nice year for Arroyo. He is sporting a 4.03 ERA with a 4.16 FIP. Neither number will turn any heads, but for Arroyo that can be seen as a successful season. He has only had three years with a better ERA, and it's his best FIP since 2006.

Arroyo throws four pitches primarily: An 87 MPH sinker (37%), a 75 MPH slider (21%), a 77 MPH changeup (16%), and a 70 MPH curveball (15%). Eight current Brewers have faced Arroyo at least ten times in their career. Here is how they have fared:

Player PA Line
Aramis Ramirez 64 .183/.234/.300
Ryan Braun 48 .279/.354/.605
Rickie Weeks 43 .154/.233/.385
Cesar Izturis 30 .222/.276/.259
Corey Hart 27 .261/.333/.304
Nyjer Morgan 21 .176/.300/.235
George Kottaras 13 .250/.308/.583
Travis Ishikawa 12 .273/.333/.364

Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 3.59) is having a very nice season for the Brewers. He's has three poor starts, but each of his other 16 starts have been quality. He's been phenomenal lately, with just two earned runs allowed in his last three starts and a 2.18 ERA and a .634 opponent OPS in his last seven starts.

After a fantastic 14 strikeout, zero walk performance against the Pirates in his last outing, Gallardo's K/9 is up to 9.44 and his BB/9 is down to 3.90. It's still his highest BB/9 since 2009, but that has been mostly on the decline recently.

Gallardo has faced six Reds hitters at least six times. Here is how they have performed against him:

Player PA Line
Brandon Phillips 36 .267/.333/.467
Jay Bruce 25 .435/.480/.739
Drew Stubbs 24 .263/.417/.579
Scott Rolen 20 .368/.400/.632
Ryan Ludwick 18 .286/.444/.714
Ryan Hanigan 14 .308/.357/.462

I haven't seen the lineup yet. If you have, perhaps you could post it in the comments?

In the bullpen:

Kameron Loe pitched one inning (19 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (35 pitches) Wednesday and has appeared in four straight games.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (18 pitches) Wednesday and also pitched on Tuesday.
Jose Veras pitched one inning (15 pitches) Wednesday and also pitched on Tuesday.
John Axford pitched 1.1 innings (18 pitches) Wednesday.
Livan Hernandez is on thirteen days' rest and counting.