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Today's Matchup: Milwaukee (Fiers) at Houston (Lyles)

There is still a faint glimmer of hope as the Brewers try to keep the fire burning.

Mike McGinnis - Getty Images

Today is the last time the Brewers will play the Astros while both team's are still in the National League. Houston heads to the AL West beginning in 2013.

The Astros are sending out Jordan Lyles (4-12, 5.44) for their Grand Brewer Finale. Lyles is someone I'm glad the Brewers had the opportunity to face his first couple years but whom they won't have to deal with in the next few years when he starts pitching well. He was called up last season when he was just 20 years old and had been in the minor leagues for just three seasons. For a high school prospect, that's a pretty quick call-up. Lyles, Baseball-America's #42 prospect entering 2011, understandable struggled, with a 5.36 ERA that season.

This year has been even worse for the right-hander. He is sporting a 4.66 FIP to go along with a 5.44 ERA. His 6.53 K/0 and 2.73 BB/9 aren't bad, but he has been killed by home runs in his young career, with a 1.36 HR/9 this season and a 1.34 HR/9 last season. He has had some games where he pitched very well, but no real sustained stretched of doing so. Lyles has been awful on the road in 2012, with a 6.95 ERA and .927 opponent OPS.

Personally, I think Lyles will end up being very good in a couple of seasons as he gets his feet under him, though the move to the American League won't help. Houston really hot-shotted him through the system and I'm not sure he ever got a chance to develop properly. He has plenty of talent and has shown flashes of it. But he really was pushed through the minors remarkably quickly for a high school prospect.

Lyles has faced five Brewers hitters at least ten times. Here is how they have fared:

Player PA Line
Aramis Ramirez 15 .267/.267/.333
Ryan Braun 14 .308/.357/.385
Corey Hart 13 .231/.231/.538
Nyjer Morgan 10 .222/.300/.222
Rickie Weeks 10 .333/.400/1.000

For the Brewers, Mike Fiers (9-9, 3.55) will make his final start of the 2012 season. Overall, it has been a very successful year for Fiers, who absolutely destroyed National League hitters through his first fifteen starts of the season to the tune of a 1.80 ERA. Giving up eight earned runs in two innings to the Rockies on August 13 was the beginning of Fiers coming back to earth, though.

Since that debacle he has made eight more starts and had a 5.45 ERA through them. His arm has probably just fatigued by this point. He has thrown nearly 180 innings this season after pitching 128 innings (a career high at the time) last year. Fiers should hopefully be a big part of the rotation for years to come and he should be able to use the off-season to rest up and come back stronger than ever in spring training.

Fiers has not faced an Astros hitter at least ten times.


In the bullpen:

Livan Hernadez "pitched" 0.2 innings (22 pitches) yesterday.
Jose Veras cleaned up Livan's crap and pitched 0.1 innings (4 pitches) yesterday.

Kameron Loe
pitched one inning (15 pitches) Friday.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (13 pitches) Thursday and one inning (11 pitches) Friday.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (19 pitches) Friday
Brandon Kintzler pitched .2 innings (18 pitches) Thursday
John Axford pitched .2 innings (22 pitches) Thursday.
Jim Henderson pitched one inning (13 pitches) Thursday.
Manny Parra and Josh Stinson last pitched on Monday.
Tyler Thornburg last pitched on Saturday.