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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Figaro) @ Astros (Lyles)

Neither of these two teams have been very good in 2013, but one of them has to win tonight.


It's interleague play against a familiar foe tonight as the Brewers open a series against Jordan Lyles (3.48 ERA, 3.78 FIP) and the Astros. Lyles was the #38 pick in the 2008 draft and is pitching in his third major league season despite being just 22 years old. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Mariners on Wednesday, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out ten for the first time in his career.

Lyles has been hot lately, posting a 1.67 ERA over his last six appearances. He'll throw a low-90's fastball around 60% of the time and mix in a steady diet of curves, cutters and changeups to go with it. Lyles will be the fourth 22-year-old starting pitcher the Brewers have faced this season, joining Jacob Turner of the Marlins, Shelby Miller of the Cardinals and Jonathan Pettibone of the Phillies.

Lyles faced the Brewers four times last season, including a complete game shutout on September 30 and a disaster start on August 1. Three active Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Aramis Ramirez 18 .278 .278 .333 .611
Rickie Weeks 14 .333 .429 .833 1.262
Norichika Aoki 11 .300 .364 .300 .664

He'll face 28-year-old righty Alfredo Figaro (3.47 ERA, 4.49 FIP), who is coming off the best performance of his life. Figaro pitched seven shutout innings against the Marlins on Wednesday and allowed just three hits, walking none while striking out four. It was the first time in his career he's recorded 21 outs in a single outing.

It's possible the biggest difference between Figaro as a 2009-10 Tiger and 2013 Brewer is velocity. His fastball is sitting around 95 this season, as compared to a 92.4 average in his last season with Detroit. According to FanGraphs, though, his curveball and slider have both been more effective pitches.

Figaro hasn't faced the Astros since 2009, and there's not a single player on Houston's active roster that has faced him in the majors.

As of this writing tonight's lineups had not been posted. If you've seen them, please drop them in the comments.

And in the bullpen:

  • Donovan Hand pitched one inning (12 pitches) on Sunday.
  • Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (eleven pitches) on Sunday.
  • Michael Gonzalez pitched .2 innings (eleven pitches) on Sunday.
  • Jim Henderson and Tom Gorzelanny last pitched on Saturday.
  • Francisco Rodriguez, John Axford and Brandon Kintzler last pitched on Friday.

The forecast in Houston today calls for a high of 92 and scattered thunderstorms, but the Minute Maid Park roof makes this entire paragraph irrelevant.