WEATHER UPDATE: As I write this it's raining in Cincinnati, but it's not expected to last all night. The Weather Channel is calling for occasional thunderstorms to end by 7:45 pm, meaning tonight's game may be delayed but should go on eventually. Expect a game-time temperature in the mid 60's once it's done raining.
The bad news at this point is that the Brewers are 5.5 games back of the Cardinals, 2.5 back of the Reds and two back of the Pirates. The good news is that they could gain ground on all three if they play well over the next ten games.
They'll start a road trip tonight against Tony Cingrani (2.63/3.26 ERA/FIP) and the Reds. Cingrani is just 23 and was the Reds' third round pick in the 2011 draft. He last pitched against the Cubs on Saturday and allowed four runs on three hits, including a pair of home runs. He's allowed four homers over four appearances this season.
Before the season John Sickels of Minor League Ball rated Cingrani as a B+ prospect. Here's an excerpt from his scouting report:
Tony Cingrani was one of the most dominant pitchers in the minor leagues last year, posting a combined 10-4, 1.73 ERA with a 172/52 K/BB in 146 innings at two levels, allowing a mere 98 hits.
The pitch (his slider) is relatively mediocre, but he breezed through the minors on the strength of his 88-95 deceptive fastball and extremely effective changeup.
For what it's worth, FanGraphs says Cingrani throws his fastball over 82% of the time.
Cingrani has never faced the Brewers before.
He'll square off against Yovani Gallardo (4.50/3.83 ERA/FIP), who starts the team's eighth trip through the rotation. Gallardo faced the Cardinals on Saturday and allowed four runs on six hits, walking none and striking out four. The pair of home runs he allowed in that game were the first he had given up since Opening Day.
If you're predicting a line for Gallardo tonight, it's probably safe to assume he'll allow a home run at some point. Great American Ball Park is one of the best hitters parks in all of baseball, and Gallardo has averaged allowing almost one home run per nine innings for his career, despite going over 30 innings between long balls this season.
Gallardo was pretty good against the Reds a year ago, starting four games against them and allowing a combined nine runs on 23 hits over 23.2 innings (a 3.42 ERA) with nine walks and 18 strikeouts. Four current Reds have faced him ten times or more:
Here are tonight's lineups:
|1||Norichika Aoki||RF||Shin-Soo Choo||CF|
|2||Jean Segura||SS||Zack Cozart||SS|
|3||Ryan Braun||LF||Joey Votto||1B|
|4||Aramis Ramirez||3B||Brandon Phillips||2B|
|5||Jonathan Lucroy||C||Jay Bruce||RF|
|6||Carlos Gomez||CF||Todd Frazier||3B|
|7||Rickie Weeks||2B||Xavier Paul||LF|
|8||Yuniesky Betancourt||1B||Ryan Hanigan||C|
|9||Yovani Gallardo||P||Tony Cingrani||P|
And in the bullpen:
- Alfredo Figaro pitched two innings (26 pitches) on Wednesday.
- Mike Gonzalez pitched .1 innings (18 pitches) on Wednesday.
- Burke Badenhop pitched .1 innings (four pitches) on Wednesday.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Brandon Kintzler and Jim Henderson last pitched on Tuesday.
- John Axford last pitched on Sunday.