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Today's Matchup: Milwaukee (Fiers) at Cincinnati (Cueto)

Getting a picture of Livan Hernandez pitching is like taking a picture of bigfoot.
Getting a picture of Livan Hernandez pitching is like taking a picture of bigfoot.

After a breakout 2011 season, Johnny Cueto (11-5, 2.28) has continued that success in 2012. Along with his 2.28 ERA, Cueto has a 3.07 FIP and a 3.85 xFIP. Though he has only modest strikeout numbers (6.70 K/9), Cueto has found great success by limiting home runs. This season he has a 0.36 HR/9 after posting a 0.46 HR/9 last year. That may be the key to much of Cueto's success. He was much more prone to the long ball when he first came into the league. He had a 1.50 HR/9 in 2008 and a 1.26 HR/9 in 2009, resulting in a 4.81 and 4.41 ERAs, respectively. He has also been helped by a diminishing walk rate as he is down to a 2.21 BB/9 in 2012.

Cueto has been excellent against right handers. This year, righties have hit for just a .508 OPS against him as opposed to a .741 OPS for lefties. His home/road splits aren't as different: He has a .612 OPS at home and a .658 OPS on the road.

Cueto throws four pitches primarily: A 92 MPH four-seamer (39%), an 82 MPH changeup (23%), an 81 MPH slider (21%), and 92 MPH two-seamer (16%). He has faced five Brewers at least ten times with some good success. You can find that info on this page.

For the Brewers, Mike Fiers (3-5, 2.01) will be making his ninth start of the season. Fiers has been nothing short of amazing lately as he has given up just three runs in his last six appearances (including one relief inning). That spans the course of 35.2 innings and gives him a 0.76 ERA over that span. In addition, Fiers has been giving the Brewers bullpen a bit of a rest when he pitches. Four of his last five starts have seen him go at least seven innings. Fiers has been the best starting pitcher on the Brewers over the last month and a half. Hopefully he can keep it up.


In the bullpen:

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.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (19 pitches) Friday.
Jose Veras pitched 1 innings (25 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched 0.1 innings (12 pitches) yesterday.
Livan Hernandez pitched 1 inning (9 pitches) yesterday.