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Today's Matchup: Brewers (Thornburg) v Pirates (Morton)

Finally, back to intraleague play.

Otto Greule Jr

After a brief and disastrous foray into games against AL teams, today the Brewers return to their recent "division opponents only" theme.

At 1:10 today the Brewers will play a holiday matinee with Tyler Thornburg (1.94 ERA, 3.54 FIP) on the mound in place of Tom Gorzelanny. Thornburg pitched a scoreless inning in relief on Friday, allowing a hit and striking out one while throwing 15 pitches. He last started a game on August 14, and hasn't thrown more than 15 pitches in an outing since August 18.

The decision to have Thornburg throw in relief on Friday and pitch today on two days' rest is a curious one, and leads me to believe he'll probably have a short outing today. The Brewers did have him pitch six innings on three days' rest on August 14, though, so anything is possible. Thornburg has yet to start on normal rest in the majors this season.

Thornburg has made a start and a relief appearance against the Pirates this season, working a combined 5.2 scoreless innings and allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out four. No current Pirates have faced him ten times or more.

He'll face righthander Charlie Morton (3.14 ERA, 3.67 FIP), who the Brewers are seeing for the second time in a week. He allowed a single unearned run on five hits over 6.2 innings against the Crew on Wednesday in a game Pittsburgh went on to win 7-1.

The Pirates are only 3-2 in Morton's last five outings, but that's not his fault. He's posted a 1.83 ERA and held opposing batters to a .260/.326/.301 line while averaging slightly less than seven innings per start. He's also not afraid to hit a batter: He's plunked 13 in his 14 outings this season and at least one in three consecutive starts.

This is the third time Morton has faced the Brewers this season. In addition to the 6.2 inning outing on Wednesday, he also held them to a single unearned run over two innings on June 30. The only active Brewer who has faced him ten times or more is Aramis Ramirez, who is batting .364/.429/.364 in 14 plate appearances.

As of this writing I haven't seen today's lineup. If you have, please drop it in the comments.

And in the extra expanded bullpen:

  • Donovan Hand pitched 1.1 innings (15 pitches) yesterday.
  • Alfredo Figaro pitched one inning (eight pitches) yesterday.
  • Rob Wooten pitched .2 innings (27 pitches) yesterday.
  • Michael Gonzalez faced one batter (two pitches) yesterday.
  • Jim Henderson pitched one inning (23 pitches) on Saturday.
  • Brandon Kintzler pitched one inning (12 pitches) on Saturday.
  • Burke Badenhop last pitched on Friday.
  • Tom Gorzelanny last pitched on Wednesday.
  • Michael Blazek last pitched on Wednesday for the Cardinals.

It looks like a nice but somewhat cool day for baseball in Milwaukee today. Expect a game-time temperature around 70 under sunny skies with winds blowing from left to right.