For the second straight night the Brewers and Giants will play the last MLB game of the day when Matt Cain (4.57 ERA, 3.87 FIP) takes the mound for San Francisco at 9:15 Central time tonight. Cain is making his 23rd start of a disappointing season, but has been very good lately: He held the Phillies to a single run on six hits over eight innings on Thursday and has a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts.
Cain's 4.57 ERA this season is more than a run higher than his career average, and his peripheral stats don't show a clear reason why. His strikeout rate (8.3 per nine innings) is actually his best since 2006, and his batting average on balls in play (.261) would suggest he hasn't been all that unlucky, either. He's pitched seven innings or more and allowed two runs or less in nine of his 22 starts this year, so the capacity for dominance is still there.
The Brewers roughed Cain up in their only other 2013 meeting on April 18, plating seven runs against him on seven hits over six innings. Jonathan Lucroy, Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun all homered in that game. Two active Brewers have faced Cain ten times or more:
He'll face Wily Peralta (4.57 ERA, 4.32 FIP), who has been struggling lately. Peralta last pitched against the Cubs on Wednesday and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits over just five innings, allowing multiple home runs for the first time all year. After allowing just four earned runs over a span of 41.1 innings, he's allowed eight (plus four more unearned) in his last 8.2.
Peralta has done a pretty good job in his first full MLB season of limiting walks, which were a major concern for him in the minors. He walked 4.8 batters per nine innings in AAA last season, but has allowed just 3.6 free passes per nine innings in the majors in 2013. That helps to make up for the fact that his strikeout rate is also down.
The Giants knocked Peralta around on April 16 to the tune of six runs (five earned) on seven hits over just four innings. No current Giants have faced him ten times or more, of course.
As of this writing I haven't seen tonight's lineup, but we have been told to expect to see Jonathan Lucroy at first base. If you know the rest, please post it in the comments.
And in the bullpen:
- John Axford pitched .1 innings (14 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
- Brandon Kintzler pitched one inning (seven pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
- Michael Gonzalez faced one batter (six pitches) last night, and also pitched on Sunday.
- Rob Wooten pitched .2 innings (eleven pitches) last night.
- Jim Henderson pitched one inning (18 pitches) on Sunday.
- Alfredo Figaro and Burke Badenhop last pitched on Friday.
Expect another cool, damp night on the west coast tonight. Look for a game-time temperature around 54 with humidity around 100% and winds blowing out to center.