A 4-2 homestand is all it would take for the Brewers to go back on the road in a week as a .500 team.
They'll get their first shot at one of those four wins tonight with Wily Peralta (5.14 ERA, 3.68 FIP) on the mound. Peralta is making just his third major league appearance and second start in his debut season, and the 23-year-old beat the Marlins on Wednesday when he allowed three runs on five hits and four walks over six innings. He struck out three and threw 92 pitches in that game.
Peralta walked 4.8 batters per nine innings in AAA this season and is now averaging 5.1 per nine in his small sample size in the majors. He had trouble finding the zone despite the fact that 68 of his 92 pitches were four seam fastballs on Wednesday, with the fastest one clocked at 98.4 mph. The slider was his most often-used secondary pitch, and he only threw it 14 times.
Peralta has, of course, never faced the Braves before. The Braves' AAA affiliate is in the International League, so no Braves would have seen him this season in the minors either.
He'll face 24 year old lefty Mike Minor (4.58 ERA, 4.66 FIP), who is having a statistically interesting season. His strikeout rate is way down (7.2 per nine innings, from 7.9), his home run rate is up (1.45, from 1.23) and his opposing batting average on balls in play is just .261, down from .306 career and .350 last season. He was dominant against the Rockies on Wednesday, allowing just one hit over seven scoreless innings.
It's been a tale of two seasons for Minor, who had a 6.20 ERA when the calendar turned to July but a 2.58 mark since. He's allowed more than three runs just one time in his last eleven starts, and is holding opposing batters to a .206/.251/.336 line over that time. He throws a low-90's fastball with a changeup, slider and curve.
Minor beat the Brewers on April 14 when he held them to a run on just two hits over 7.1 innings. Aramis Ramirez is the only Brewer who's faced him ten times or more: He's hitting .500/.500/.833 over 12 PAs.
Tonight's Brewer lineup features the return of Ryan Braun, but no Corey Hart:
Norichika Aoki RF
Carlos Gomez CF
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Rickie Weeks 2B
Martin Maldonado C
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Jeff Bianchi SS
Wily Peralta P
And in the bullpen:
Brandon Kintzler pitched two innings (23 pitches) yesterday.
Manny Parra pitched 1.2 innings (24 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe pitched .2 innings (18 pitches) yesterday.
Jose Veras pitched .1 innings (2 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched one inning (20 pitches) Saturday.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (20 pitches) Saturday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (17 pitches) Saturday.
Livan Hernandez pitched one inning (14 pitches) Saturday.
Josh Stinson last pitched on Thursday.
Tyler Thornburg last pitched on Sunday, September 2.
It should be a beautiful night for baseball at Miller Park tonight, with a game time temperature around 70 dropping as the night goes along. The roof should be open, but don't be surprised if they close it once it starts to cool off outside.