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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) vs Phillies (Worley)

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 12:  Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 12: Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Brewers have only won eight consecutive home games nine times in franchise history (including twice in 2011).

They've got a chance to do it for the ninth time tonight with Yovani Gallardo (3.78 ERA, 3.90 FIP) on the mound. Gallardo has been somewhere between very good and dominant in nearly all of his starts this season, and has pitched seven innings or more and allowed three runs or less in three straight appearances. He pitched 7.2 innings against the Astros on Sunday and allowed three runs on nine hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. He threw 114 pitches in the outing.

It's worth noting once again that Gallardo's occasional bouts with inefficiency are the biggest thing keeping him from becoming one of the game's top pitchers. He's averaging 105 pitches per start this season, tenth in all of baseball, but also averaging less than 6.1 innings per start. Among the top ten pitchers in pitches per start, only Yu Darvish is less efficient than Gallardo:

Pitcher Pitches IP Pitches per IP
Yu Darvish 2424 140.2 17.2
Yovani Gallardo 2519 147.2 17.1
James Shields 2636 161.1 16.3
David Price 2599 162 16
Johnny Cueto 2563 161.2 15.9
Jake Peavy 2532 162.2 15.6
Justin Verlander 2733 175.2 15.6
Matt Cain 2443 159.2 15.3
CC Sabathia 2160 141.2 15.2
Cole Hamels 2490 163.2 15.2

This is only the third time in his career Gallardo has faced the Phillies and the first time in 2012. No current Phillies have faced him ten times or more, but Ryan Howard is 2-for-6 against him with three walks and a home run.

He'll face 24-year-old righthander Vance Worley (3.97 ERA, 3.83 FIP), who is quietly having a pretty good season on a disappointing Phillies team. He's been knocked around a bit lately, though, posting a 5.73 ERA over 44 innings since July 1. He pitched 5.1 innings against the Cardinals on Sunday and allowed four runs on nine hits over 5.1 innings.

Worley's 3.97 ERA is boosted a bit by the fact that opposing batters are hitting .329 on balls in play against him. That's up over 40 points from last season despite the fact that his ground ball rate has gone up significantly, from 39 to 48%. His fastball sits around 90 and he'll compliment it with a cutter and the occasional curve or changeup.

Worley walked the tightrope against the Brewers on July 25, allowing three runs on ten hits and a walk over just 5.1 innings, walking one and striking out six in the game. Rickie Weeks took him deep in that game. No current Brewers have faced him ten times or more, but the batters that have faced him are hitting a combined .404/.451/.723 in 53 PAs.

I wrote this post early today so I could go watch Chikara in Milwaukee tonight, but before I left I was able to scribble down this lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart 1B
Martin Maldonado C
Nyjer Morgan CF
Jean Segura SS
Yovani Gallardo P

And in the bullpen:

Manny Parra pitched .1 innings (12 pitches) last night and has appeared in three straight games.
Jose Veras pitched two innings (45 pitches) last night.
Jim Henderson pitched .2 innings (12 pitches) last night.
Livan Hernandez pitched one inning (8 pitches) last night.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (19 pitches) on Wednesday.
John Axford pitched .2 innings (8 pitches) on Wednesday.
Mike McClendon last pitched on Monday.
Kameron Loe last pitched on Sunday.

It actually might be a little cool for August at the ballpark tonight. Expect a game time temperature right around 70 and dropping as the game goes along.