Tonight the Brewers face a familiar foe in his new uniform.
At 7:05 tonight they'll face Matt Garza (3.23 ERA, 3.75 FIP) in his fifth start as a member of the Texas Rangers. Garza has a 3.38 ERA since moving to the AL on July 22, when the Rangers acquired him in exchange for third baseman Mike Olt and four other players. He last pitched on Friday, when he allowed four runs on seven hits over seven innings against Houston.
Garza will be a free agent after the season, so there's a strong chance he's just a rental for the Rangers. He also missed the first six weeks of the season with a side strain, so he's still only thrown about 100 innings so far this season. His last three appearances are the first time he's thrown 100 pitches in three consecutive outings all season. His fastball velocity is also down this year, falling from an average of 93.6 to 92.6 mph.
Garza last faced the Brewers as a Cub on June 27, and picked up the win by holding them to a run on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out ten in that game, which is a season-high. The only active Brewer who has faced him ten times or more is Yuniesky Betancourt, who is batting .240/.240/.280 against him over 25 plate appearances.
He'll face Tyler Thornburg (1.72 ERA, 3.20 FIP), who may be about to be the odd man out of the Brewer rotation despite having been excellent in a fill-in role. Thornburg last pitched in relief on August 10 when he worked a scoreless ninth in a 10-0 win over the Mariners. His last start came on Monday, August 5, when he allowed a single unearned run on seven hits over six innings against the Giants.
Thornburg is currently riding a streak of 14 consecutive innings without an earned run allowed, and Brooks Baseball would suggest a lot of that success is due to the ability to throw his curveball for strikes. He used the pitch for 28 of his 102 offerings against the Giants, and it was a strike 19 times. Four of his seven swing-and-misses from that game were curves.
Thornburg has never faced the Rangers during the regular season, but he did face the Rangers' AAA affiliate in Round Rock on June 1. He pitched five innings in that game and allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits. No current Rangers have faced him in the majors.
Tonight's lineup is as follows:
Norichika Aoki RF
Jean Segura SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Aramis Ramirez DH
Carlos Gomez CF
Juan Francisco 1B
Scooter Gennett 2B
Jeff Bianchi 3B
Logan Schafer LF
And in the bullpen:
- Jim Henderson pitched 1.1 innings (19 pitches) last night.
- Brandon Kintzler pitched one inning (12 pitches) last night.
- Michael Gonzalez pitched .1 innings (10 pitches) last night.
- Rob Wooten pitched .1 innings (six pitches) last night.
- Alfredo Figaro last pitched on Friday.
- John Axford and Donovan Hand last pitched on Thursday.
- Burke Badenhop is enjoying the last leg of a leisurely trip to three MLB cities.
Last night's game was delayed by rain, and there's a chance it could happen again tonight. The Weather Channel calls for a game time temperature around 87 dropping into the low 80's as the game progresses with a chance of thunderstorms increasing as the evening goes along. The winds will be relatively light and blowing in from left field.