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Today's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) at Marlins (Johnson)

When first looking at today's pitching matchup I felt a bit of dread. Isn't Josh Johnson (3.86 ERA, 3.32 FIP) the Marlins' ace? Isn't Marco Estrada (3.85 ERA, 3.71 FIP) the Brewers' back of the rotation fill-in guy? Of course when I looked at it, it was around midnight and I was too tired to bend my head around the new realities of each team's rotation.

Estrada is having a better year than any of us really expected when he had to jump in to replace Chris Narveson in April. Despite missing a month to injury, he's putting together the best season of his major league career. He's already pitched the third-most innings of his professional career and may finish with the second-most. Estrada's only faced the Marlins twice as a starter, once as a very inefficient one for Washington in 2009, so we can throw those matchups right out. One thing we'll probably see today: a lot of strikeouts. Estrada has struck out 9 or more batters in a game 5 times in 2012.

Josh Johnson, on the other hand, is having a disappointing season. Johnson is putting up the worst numbers of his career, although they're still good. They're not just the awesome we're used to seeing out of Johnson. What has been up with Johnson this year to make his results differ? He's striking out batters a little less than he used to. His BABIP last year was ridiculously low (.239 compared to this year's .313, which is more in line with the rest of his seasons) so his numbers look just a bit less glowing. Johnson has also been giving up more home runs this year. I'm not sure if this is a park factor or not yet; he's given up 5 at home and 7 on the road. In 2010, he gave up 2 at home and 5 on the road in a year when he finished with the league's best HR/9. In 2009, he gave up 5 at home. He is allowing more fly balls than previously.

Interesting Marco Estrada Fact: He has 6 major league hits. Of these 6, 3 of them have been doubles.

Exciting day-game lineups!

Milwaukee Brewers Miami Marlins
Norichika Aoki RF Bryan Petersen LF
Rickie Weeks 2B Donovan Solano 2B
Ryan Braun LF Jose Reyes SS
Corey Hart 1B Giancarlo Stanton RF
Jonathan Lucroy C Greg Dobbs 1B
Carlos Gomez CF Justin Ruggiano CF
Jeff Bianchi 3B Rob Brantly C
Jean Segura SS Donnie Murphy 3B
Marco Estrada P Josh Johnson P

Exciting (more than it should be) bullpen!

Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 inning (13 pitches) last night and 1 inning (13 pitches) on Tuesday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (22 pitches) last night and 0.1 inning (7 pitches) on Tuesday.
Jim Henderson pitched 0.2 inning (3 pitches) last night and 1 inning (18 pitches) on Tuesday.
Kameron Loe pitched 0.1 inning (10 pitches) last night and 0.1 inning (2 pitches) on Tuesday.
Jose Veras pitched 0.2 inning (23 pitches) on Tuesday.
Livan Hernandez pitched 2 innings (36 pitches) on Monday.
Brandon Kintzler pitched 1 inning (18 pitches) on Monday.
Manny Parra pitched 1 inning (20 pitches) on Monday.
Josh Stinson and Tyler Thornburg are somewhere around here. Maybe they're hiding in the bullpen suitcase.