EDITOR'S NOTE: If you're looking for something to do while waiting for today's game, I'll be appearing on WSSP's pregame roundtable around 11:45. - KL
After a Wednesday double-header with the Dodgers, the Nationals didn't want Jordan Zimmermann to pitch on short rest. Thus, Chien-Ming Wang (2-3, 6.92) gets the start today. Wang, for lack of a better term, has been dreadful this season. He has only made eight appearances at the big league level with a 6.07 FIP and 5.70 xFIP. Unfortunately for Wang, his 4.50 K/9 is accompanied by a 4.85 BB/9 and 1.38 HR/9. Most of Wang's major league time was spent from late-May through June. Seven of his eight outing came then and he posted a 7.61 ERA. Over his four starts, he had a 6.62 ERA and a ridiculously bad 1.047 opponent OPS. In one relief appearance since being called up again in September, he pitched 2.1 shutout innings.
Wang's year in the minors has not been much better. He has made fifteen starts between four levels and has a 5.51 ERA between them. The 32-year-old Wang has, of course, had success in the past back when he was with the Yankees. Still, it would be hard to call any season of his good since maybe 2008. Wang has only made one appearance since September 1 and likely won't be able to pitch very deep into the game. Of course, he will have to actually pitch well to even have a chance of that.
Wang relies very heavily on a 91 MPH Sinker, throwing it 72% of the time. The only other pitch he throws more than 10% of the time is an 85 MPH slider. Wang has not faced a Brewers hitter at least ten times in his career.
For the Brewers, Yovani Gallardo (16-8, 3.59) will make the start. Gallardo has stepped up his game since the Zack Greinke trade. In ten starts since that trade, Gallardo has a 2.69 ERA and .621 opponent OPS. And that includes a 4.2 inning, seven earned run start against the Pirates on September 2. On the season, Gallardo has a 3.90 FIP and 3.54 xFIP. He has a 9.05 K/9 and a 3.54 BB/9 to go along with a 1.12 HR/9. Gallardo had a great start his last outing, going 6.2 two-hit shutout innings. Standing at 193 innings on the season and with a likely three starts remaining, Gallardo appears poised to break his career high in innings of 207.1 set last season.
Gallardo has faced two Nationals hitters at least ten times. In 25 plate appearances, Adam LaRoche has hit .318/.400/.636 while Jayson Werth has hit .077/.077/.077 in 13 plate appearances.
Here's today's lineup:
Norichika Aoki RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart 1B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Logan Schafer CF
Jean Segura SS
Yovani Gallardo P
In the bullpen:
John Axford pitched one inning (19 pitches) Friday and also pitched on Wednesday and Thursday.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (14 pitches) Friday.
Jose Veras pitched one inning (16 pitches) Friday.
Brandon Kintzler pitched two innings (34 pitches) Thursday.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (14 pitches) Thursday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (14 pitches) Thursday.
Kameron Loe pitched .1 innings (13 pitches) Thursday.