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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Lohse) @ Reds (Arroyo)

Can the Brewers carry their momentum across an off day and into the home of one of the NL's best teams?

Mike McGinnis

Even after beating the Brewers once, the Marlins have 19 wins on the season. Cincinnati comes into tonight with 40. It's safe to assume the Brewers will see a slightly better team this weekend.

At 6:10 tonight the Brewers will face familiar foe Bronson Arroyo (3.35 ERA, 3.98 FIP) and the second place Reds. Arroyo is coming off a start against the Cardinals on Sunday where he allowed two runs on six hits over six innings but received a no-decision when the game went into extra innings. He threw 84 pitches in that game and has thrown 87 or less in each of his last three outings.

Arroyo is 56th on baseball's all-time list with 292 home runs allowed, including an MLB-high 46 in 2011 and 26 last year. In 2011 he actually allowed more home runs (again, 46) than walks (45). He won't strike many guys out but seems happy to throw a hittable pitch instead of issuing a walk.

This is the 31st time Arroyo has faced the Brewers in his career, and the second time this season. He picked up the win on May 12 when he held the Crew scoreless for 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out five. Six current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Aramis Ramirez 73 .217 .260 .391 .652
Ryan Braun 60 .255 .317 .527 .844
Rickie Weeks 55 .180 .255 .360 .615
Norichika Aoki 19 .222 .263 .389 .652
Yuniesky Betancourt 18 .333 .333 .667 1.000
Carlos Gomez 12 .083 .083 .083 .167

One of Arroyo's teammates on the 2006-07 Reds was Kyle Lohse (4.03 ERA, 4.60 FIP), who makes his 13th start of the season for the Brewers tonight. On Sunday Lohse became the first pitcher to throw eight innings in a game for the Crew this season, holding the Phillies to a run on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts. It was his first strong outing since going on the DL with elbow soreness in mid-May.

Despite batting elbow soreness this year, Lohse's velocity remains steady. He's averaging 89.6 mph on his fastball, which is about where he's been every season since 2010. He's still throwing a fair number of sliders (21.4% of all pitches), but he's using his changeup more than ever before (also 21.4%).

Lohse is facing the Reds for the 12th time in his career tonight, but the first time in 2013. He faced them three times as a Cardinal a year ago and allowed three runs combined over 19 innings. Five current Reds have faced him ten times or more:

Jay Bruce 25 .333 .360 .667 1.027
Brandon Phillips 24 .227 .250 .273 .523
Joey Votto 21 .316 .333 .421 .754
Ryan Hanigan 14 .167 .286 .250 .536
Zack Cosart 10 .143 .300 .429 .729

Here are tonight's lineups:

Order Brewers Pos @ Reds Pos
1 Norichika Aoki RF Shin-Soo Choo CF
2 Jean Segura SS Derrick Robinson LF
3 Carlos Gomez CF Brandon Phillips 2B
4 Aramis Ramirez 3B Jay Bruce RF
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS Todd Frazier 3B
6 Logan Schafer LF Jack Hannahan 1B
7 Martin Maldonado C Zack Cozart SS
8 Scooter Gennett 2B Ryan Hanigan C
9 Kyle Lohse P Bronson Arroyo P

And in the bullpen:

  • Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (16 pitches) on Wednesday.
  • Tom Gorzelanny pitched one inning (nine pitches) on Wednesday.
  • Jim Henderson, Michael Gonzalez and John Axford last pitched on Tuesday.
  • Donovan Hand last pitched on Monday.
  • Brandon Kintzler and Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Saturday.

It's a beautiful night for baseball in Cincinnati. Expect a game-time temperature in the upper 70's with winds blowing out to right.