Any time you get a chance to not televise a day game involving your team's Opening Day starter, you have to take it.
That's probably not what FS Wisconsin was thinking when they decided not to cover today's Yovani Gallardo (5.05 ERA, 4.38 FIP) start, but that's what happened anyway. Gallardo is taking the mound for the first time since Friday, when he faced the Phillies and allowed five runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. He threw a season-high 112 pitches in that outing.
Gallardo's strikeout rate is down and his home run rate is up in 2013, but it's still worth noting that he may not be as bad as his ERA would indicate. His FIP (fielding independent pitching) shows that his ERA should be closer to 4.38, and his xFIP (like FIP, but adjusted for batted-ball types) is actually down under 4 at 3.79. With that said, Gallardo is averaging almost 18 pitches per inning of work this season, and that's not a recipe for long term success.
Gallardo has made 163 career regular season appearances as a member of the Brewers, but has never faced the A's. Two current Athletics have faced him ten times or more as members of other teams:
He'll face Bartolo Colon (3.33 ERA, 3.33 FIP), who is making his 12th appearance of the season and his third since celebrating his 40th birthday on May 24. Colon is coming off a complete game shutout against the White Sox on Friday, where he allowed five hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out three. He's currently riding an 18 inning scoreless streak.
After looking at Colon's stuff, I have no idea how he's remained effective this long. His fastball sits around 90 but he throws it more than 85% of the time, pausing only occasionally to mix in a slider or changeup. It's a safe bet he'll be in or around the strike zone most of the day: He leads all of baseball with just .5 walks allowed per nine innings.
Colon has been around so long that he pitched against the Brewers in their final AL season in 1997. With that said, he hasn't faced this team during the regular season since 2002. Yuniesky Betancourt is the only Brewer who's seen him ten times or more, and he's a career .353/.353/.441 hitter against him in 34 matchups.
Today's lineups have been posted and read as follows:
And in the bullpen:
- John Axford pitched one inning (20 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Monday.
- Tom Gorzelanny pitched 1.1 innings (18 pitches) last night.
- Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (15 pitches) last night.
- Michael Gonzalez pitched .1 innings (eleven pitches) last night.
- Brandon Kintzler pitched .1 innings (ten pitches) last night.
- Donovan Hand pitched three innings (40 pitches) on Monday.
- Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (35 pitches) on Monday.
- Tyler Thornburg last pitched on Saturday for Nashville.
It's a good day to watch baseball inside in Milwaukee today. It's 56 and rainy in Milwaukee but under the roof it'll be warm and mostly dry.