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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Thornburg) @ Cardinals (Kelly)

Join us tonight for the Brewers' last visit to St. Louis in 2013.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers play the Cardinals six times in their last 20 games in 2013 and six more times in their first 28 next season. How could we be so lucky?

With that said, tonight at 7:15 the Brewers wrap up their final St. Louis series of 2013 when they face Joe Kelly (2.74 ERA, 4.13 FIP). Kelly is making his 34th appearance and 12th start of the season, and his first since beating the Pirates on Friday. He pitched six innings in that game and allowed a run on eight hits, walking three and striking out four. He threw 105 pitches in that game.

Kelly has been very good lately, pitching exactly six innings in each of his last five starts and allowing just five runs over that time. He has a 2.10 ERA since moving back into the Cardinals rotation on July 6, but is walking almost four batters per nine innings over that time. He'll throw a mid-90's fastball around two thirds of the time, pairing it with a good changeup and some sliders and curves.

This is the first time Kelly has started a game against the Brewers this season, but he did make three relief appearances against them in May. He pitched three combined innings over those outings and allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Two current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Norichika Aoki 10 9 5 2 0 0 1 1 0 .556 .600 .778 1.378
Carlos Gomez 10 9 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 .333 .400 .444 .844
Total 46 41 16 3 0 0 6 3 3 .390 .435 .463 .898
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/12/2013.

He'll face Tyler Thornburg (2.08 ERA, 3.51 FIP), one of the latest additions to the Brewers' September six-man rotation. Thornburg pitched against the Pirates on Monday, September 2 and picked up a loss, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings. Those two earned runs were the most he's allowed in a start this season.

Thornburg throws relatively hard (sitting around 92), but his curveball is the pitch to watch for. He's been throwing it around 27% of the time this season and FanGraphs rates it as a significantly above-average pitch at +1.05 runs per 100 pitches. His fastball and changeup have also been above average this season, but less so.

Thornburg is facing the Cardinals for the first time this season. His second major league start came against them in July of 2012, though. No current Cardinals have faced him ten times or more.

Tonight's lineup is as follows:

Norichika Aoki RF
Scooter Gennett 2B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Logan Schafer LF
Sean Halton 1B
Jeff Bianchi SS
Tyler Thornburg P

And in the bullpen:

  • Michael Gonzalez pitched .2 innings (12 pitches) last night, and also pitched on Tuesday.
  • Brandon Kintzler pitched .2 innings (30 pitches) last night.
  • Donovan Hand pitched .2 innings (24 pitches) on Tuesday.
  • Burke Badenhop pitched .1 innings (seven pitches) on Tuesday.
  • Jim Henderson last pitched on Sunday.
  • Rob Wooten last pitched on Saturday.
  • Jimmy Nelson and Michael Blazek last pitched on Friday.
  • Alfredo Figaro has given up on getting it right.
  • Tom Gorzelanny needs help proofreading.

It's a little cooler in St. Louis today, which should make for a more comfortable ballgame tonight. Expect a game-time temperature around 84 to drop into the 70s as the night goes along. The winds will be between 5 and 10 mph and blowing from left to right.