Winning out is more or less the only way the Brewers have a shot at the playoffs at this point.
Of course, if the Brewers are going to start a ridiculous run they'll have to do it by beating Bronson Arroyo (3.63 ERA, 4.06 FIP), who has a ridiculous delivery. Arroyo's 3.63 ERA is his best since 2006, and he needs eight more innings to have at least 199 in eight consecutive seasons. He pitched eight innings against the Dodgers on Friday and allowed a run on six hits, walking none and striking out four.
The Reds franchise is 130 years old but only ten pitchers over that time have made more starts than Arroyo, who will appear for the 232nd time tonight. He's also eleventh on the franchise's all time list with 981 strikeouts. He's 35 years old and under contract for just $6.5 million for 2013. Nearly half of his current three year, $35 million deal is deferred without interest.
Tonight is Arroyo's 29th career appearance against the Brewers and his fifth this season. He's held the Crew to eleven runs on 24 hits over 25.2 innings (3.86 ERA) this season, walking four and striking out 24. Eight Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
He'll face Shaun Marcum (3.86 ERA, 4.08 FIP), who continues his month-long audition for 30 MLB teams. Marcum had easily his best start since coming off the DL on Friday, holding the Nationals to two runs on four hits over six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. It was his first quality start since June 14.
Marcum has drawn a lot of attention for his health and struggles this season, but it's worth noting that his strikeout rate (slightly over eight per nine innings) is a career high. He's struck out 23 batters over 29.2 innings since coming off the DL.
Marcum has not faced the Reds in 2012. The only Reds that have seen him ten times or more are Dioner Navarro (.263/.263/.421 in 20 PA) and Drew Stubbs (.111/.200/.333 in 10 PA).
Here's tonight's lineup:
Norichika Aoki RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Corey Hart 1B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Logan Schafer CF
Jeff Bianchi SS
Shaun Marcum P
And in the bullpen:
Kameron Loe pitched 1.1 innings (19 pitches) last night and also pitched on Monday.
Jose Veras pitched one inning (11 pitches) last night.
Brandon Kintzler pitched .2 innings (9 pitches) last night.
Jim Henderson pitched .2 innings (9 pitches) last night.
Manny Parra pitched two innings (48 pitches) Monday.
Josh Stinson pitched 1.2 innings (34 pitches) Monday.
Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford last pitched on Sunday.
Tyler Thornburg and Livan Hernandez last pitched on Saturday.
It rained for a while in Cincinnati today but at about 2:45 Tom Haudricourt reported that the tarp was off the field. Unfortunately it looks like the break in the weather won't last long, with The Weather Channel predicting a 100% chance of precipitation around 8 pm Central time.