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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) v. Rockies (De La Rosa)

Can the Brewers improve to 2-0 to start the 2013 season?


Fun fact: The Brewers have won on Opening Day in 23 of their 45 seasons. In the 23 seasons that started with an Opening Day win, they've gone 15-8 in the second game.

They'll get a chance to improve to 2-0 tonight with Marco Estrada (1.88 ERA this spring, 3.64/3.35 ERA/FIP in 2012) on the mound for the first time in the regular season. Estrada pitched in a minor league game on Thursday while Kyle Lohse was making his spring debut, so his last Cactus League appearance came against the Angels on March 23. He allowed two runs on two hits in that game, walking three and striking out four.

Estrada's three walks against the Angels are interesting because in all 29 of his major league appearances last season he walked three batters or less. In fact, Estrada has kept his walk total at three or below in all 31 of his MLB starts as a Brewer. That's the tenth longest streak in franchise history.

Estrada faced the Rockies on April 21 of last season and received a no decision, allowing a run on two hits over five innings with nine walks and no strikeouts. The Brewers went on to win that game 9-4. No current Rockies have faced him ten times or more, and the Rockies that have seen him are a combined 3-for-22 with a double and a solo home run for a .136/.136/.318 line.

He'll face one-time Brewer lefty Jorge De La Rosa (2.84 ERA this spring, 9.28/8.63 ERA/FIP in 2012) in the first start of what the Rockies are hoping will be a bounceback season for him. JDLR was great as a Rockie in 2009 but injuries limited him to 121.2 innings in 2010, 59 in 2011 and just 10.2 last season. His last spring training start came on March 18 when he allowed a run on two hits over five innings against the Reds.

It's hard to tell what to expect from De La Rosa in terms of stuff. When he's healthy he throws a low-to-mid 90's fastball, an even mix of changeups and sliders and an occasional curve. His velocity was way down in 2012, though, and he ended up throwing his changeup over a third of the time in limited innings.

De La Rosa has faced the Brewers five times in his career, but hasn't seen them in the regular season since 2010. The only current Brewer who has faced him ten times or more is Ryan Braun, who has owned him to the tune of a .778/.833/1.444 batting line over 12 plate appearances.

Here are tonight's lineups:

Order Rockies Pos @ Brewers Pos
1 Dexter Fowler CF Norichika Aoki RF
2 Josh Rutledge 2B Rickie Weeks 2B
3 Carlos Gonzalez LF Ryan Braun LF
4 Troy Tulowitzki SS Aramis Ramirez 3B
5 Michael Cuddyer RF Jonathan Lucroy C
6 Todd Helton 1B Alex Gonzalez 1B
7 Chris Nelson 3B Carlos Gomez CF
8 Yorvit Torrealba C Jean Segura SS
9 Jorge De La Rosa P Marco Estrada P

And in the bullpen:

  • Alfredo Figaro pitched two innings (22 pitches) yesterday.
  • John Axford pitched one inning (17 pitches) yesterday.
  • Jimmy Henderson pitched one inning (12 pitches) yesterday.
  • Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (11 pitches) yesterday.
  • Tom Gorzelanny pitched one inning (21 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Chris Narveson pitched one inning (16 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Michael Gonzalez pitched one inning (14 pitches) against the White Sox on Saturday.
  • Brandon Kintzler pitched 1.2 innings (25 pitches) against the White Sox on Friday.

It's a cold April day in Milwaukee and it's not going to warm up tonight, with the game time temperature projected to be around 37. The Miller Park roof will be closed.