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Today's Matchup: Brewers (Wolf) vs Reds (Latos)


EDITOR'S NOTE: With the quick turnaround between last night's night game and today's matinee, the Frosty Mug is off today. It will return tomorrow. - KL

When you consider how rough the rest of this season has been, the fact that the Brewers have managed five straight home wins (including two against the Central-leading Reds) is pretty impressive.

Unfortunately, odds are that streak will end today with Randy Wolf (5.57 ERA, 4.69 FIP) on the mound. Wolf has seven quality starts in 21 outings this season, but overall he looks like a pitcher who might be done as an effective major league starter at age 35. He pitched 5.1 innings against the Cardinals on Friday and allowed five runs on nine hits, walking one and striking out two.

Most teams are hitting Wolf pretty well this season, but the Reds are a terrible matchup for him. Wolf is allowing righthanded batters to hit .325/.373/.520 against him in 2012, and with the exception of Jay Bruce nearly every position player on Cincinnati's active roster hits from the right side. The Reds' team OPS is nearly 60 points higher (.781 vs .722) against lefthanded pitchers.

This is the 24th time Wolf has faced the Reds in his career, but the first time in 2012. Seven current Reds have faced him ten times or more:

Ryan Ludwick 27 .300 .444 .300 .744
Brandon Phillips 27 .308 .333 .577 .910
Scott Rolen 27 .217 .333 .261 .594
Jay Bruce 26 .409 .500 .773 1.273
Drew Stubbs 16 .182 .438 .182 .619
Ryan Hanigan 13 .333 .385 .417 .801
Miguel Cairo 11 .182 .182 .364 .545

He'll face Mat Latos (3.94 ERA, 4.22 FIP), whose season has really turned around. Latos was carrying a 5.20 ERA when he entered a game against the Brewers on June 25 but pitched a complete game that day and has posted a 2.13 ERA over eight starts since. He pitched 7.1 shutout innings against the Pirates on Friday, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out five.

There's really nothing about Latos' peripheral numbers that isn't good. He strikes out over eight batters per nine innings, keeps his walk rate down and throws a lot of first pitch strikes. He'll throw a low-to-mid 90's fastball with a very good slider, above average curve and somewhat weak changeup.

As I mentioned above, Latos pitched a complete game against the Brewers on June 25. He allowed one run on just four hits in that outing, walking two and striking out 13. Five Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Aramis Ramirez 12 .333 .333 .500 .833
Nyjer Morgan 11 .091 .091 .091 ,182
Ryan Braun 10 .000 .200 .000 .200
Corey Hart 10 .111 .200 .222 .422
Rickie Weeks 10 .500 .500 1.200 1.700

Latos is one of just three pitchers who have faced Braun ten times or more without allowing a hit:

Pitcher Hitless PA
Nick Masset 14
Jeff Fulchino 11
Mat Latos 10

Here's today's lineup:

Norichika Aoki RF
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Martin Maldonado C
Jean Segura SS
Randy Wolf P

Most of the bullpen is pretty well rested today:

Jim Henderson pitched one inning (13 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched 1.2 innings (29 pitches) Monday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched .1 innings (24 pitches) Monday.
Kameron Loe last pitched on Sunday..
Livan Hernandez last pitched on Saturday.
Mike McClendon last pitched on Friday.
Jose Veras last pitched on Wednesday.
Manny Parra last pitched on July 24 and has been dealing with shoulder irritation.

It should be a comfortable day to be out at Miller Park today. Expect the game time temperature to be around 79 and remain steady through the afternoon.