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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) @ Phillies (Hamels)

At least tonight's 6:05 start should leave you some time to do something fun afterwards.

Patrick McDermott

A five-game road trip continues tonight with the opener of a series in Philadelphia.

At 6:10 tonight the Brewers will face Cole Hamels (4.43 ERA, 4.11 FIP), who might be having the worst of his eight major league seasons. Hamels was the losing pitcher when the Phillies faced the Nationals on Sunday, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits over 6.1 innings. The Phillies are 1-10 in his starts this season.

Hamels' peripheral numbers would suggest his control is down a bit this season. FanGraphs says just 42.5% of his pitches are in the strike zone, compared to 50% for his career. That could be part of the reason he's walking around 3.3 batters per nine innings, up from 2.2 a year ago and 2.3 for his career.

Hamels beat the Brewers on August 18 of last season, pitching 7.2 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits with ten strikeouts. He worked around home runs from Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun in that game. Five Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Ryan Braun 29 .250 .276 .607 .883
Alex Gonzalez 26 .240 .269 .520 .789
Rickie Weeks 24 .100 .250 .200 .450
Aramis Ramirez 20 .263 ,300 .684 .984
Carlos Gomez 11 .273 .273 .273 .545

Hamels is one of 13 pitchers who have served up three or more home runs to Braun. Current Brewer teammate Tom Gorzelanny is another.

He'll face struggling righty Yovani Gallardo (4.79 ERA, 3.92 FIP), who continues to look for momentum in the 2013 season. Gallardo pitched four innings against the Pirates on Sunday and allowed four runs on five hits, walking two and tying a season high with seven strikeouts. He needed 94 pitches to record 12 outs in the game.

It's been touched on at length but Gallardo's velocity remains a concern this season. His average fastball sat around 93 mph in 2011 but dropped to 91.8 in 2012 and is down to 90.4 in 2013. FanGraphs listed his fastball as an above average pitch in terms of run values from 2007-11, but it dipped slightly below average in 2012 and is down to -0.71 runs per 100 in 2013.

Gallardo beat the Phillies on August 17 of last season, allowing a single run on just four hits over seven innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. Four current Phillies have seen him ten times or more:

Humberto Quintero 18 .313 .389 .375 .764
Ben Revere 14 .308 .357 .462 .819
Ryan Howard 12 .333 .500 .778 1.278
Jimmy Rollins 10 .200 .200 .200 .400

Here are tonight's lineups:

Order Brewers Pos @ Phillies Pos
1 Norichika Aoki RF Ben Revere CF
2 Jean Segura SS Cesar Hernandez 2B
3 Ryan Braun LF Jimmy Rollins SS
4 Aramis Ramirez 3B Ryan Howard 1B
5 Carlos Gomez CF Domonic Brown LF
6 Jonathan Lucroy C Delmon Young RF
7 Yuniesky Betancourt 1B Freddy Galvis 3B
8 Jeff Bianchi 2B Humberto Quintero C
9 Yovani Gallardo P Cole Hamels P

And in the bullpen:

  • Donovan Hand pitched 2.1 innings (38 pitches) last night.
  • John Axford pitched one inning (28 pitches) last night.
  • Tom Gorzelanny pitched one inning (25 pitches) on Wednesday.
  • Francisco Rodriguez, Burke Badenhop, Brandon Kintzler and Michael Gonzalez last pitched on Tuesday.
  • Alfredo Figaro pitched five innings on Tuesday.

It's hot and sunny in Philadelphia today, although it should cool off a bit by game time. Expect a temperature around 85 with winds blowing out to right.