The Brewers are winners of five straight games for the first time this season, and tonight they have a chance to extend the streak.
They'll do it against frequent team-changer Edwin Jackson (3.89 ERA, 3.83 FIP), who has been a Ray, Tiger, Diamondback, White Stocking, Cardinal and National since 2008 and will be a free agent again at the end of this season. Jackson has made 28 starts this season for Washington and his 8 strikeouts per nine innings are a career best. He faced the Braves on Saturday and allowed four runs on four hits over 5.1 innings.
Jackson is pitching his tenth major league season as a member of his seventh team, so it's easy to forget that he only turned 29 this month. He's one of just 14 active pitchers to make 200 starts before the end of his age 28 season - some of the others are CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez (who is still only 26), Zack Greinke and Jeff Suppan.
Jackson beat the Brewers on July 26, pitching seven shutout innings in a game the Nationals eventually won 8-2. Six current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Hart and Weeks are two of six players with three career homers against Jackson.
If Shaun Marcum (3.91 ERA, 4.07 FIP)'s recent work is any indication, the Brewers are going to need some run support tonight. Marcum has recorded an out in the sixth inning just one time in five starts since coming off the DL and is carrying a 5.70 ERA over that time. He lasted four innings against the Mets on Saturday and allowed four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out three.
I think it's fair to wonder how effective Marcum can be when his fastball sits in the mid 80's and he seems reluctant to use it. FanGraphs says he's throwing his fastball just 30% of the time this season, down from 34% last season and 45 two years ago. His velocity is also down for the second straight year, from an average of 87.1 mph in 2010 to 86.6 this season.
Marcum hasn't seen the Nationals since facing them as a member of the Blue Jays in 2007. The only current National with 10 PAs against him is Kurt Suzuki, who is 1-for-11 with three strikeouts.
I wrote this early so I could go to a wedding rehearsal, and as of this writing I haven't seen today's lineup. If you have, please drop it in the comments.
And in the bullpen:
John Axford pitched one inning (19 pitches) yesterday and also pitched on Wednesday.
Brandon Kintzler pitched two innings (34 pitches) yesterday.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
Kameron Loe pitched .1 innings (13 pitches) yesterday.
Jose Veras pitched .2 innings (10 pitches) yesterday.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (18 pitches) Wednesday.
Tyler Thornburg, Josh Stinson and Livan Hernandez are co-winners of the "Just Here For The Food" Award, as all haven't pitched in a week.
It looks like a nice night for baseball tonight with temperatures in the low 70s and no rain in the forecast.