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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Hellweg) v Cardinals (Miller)

The Brewers have looked pretty good lately, but tonight could be a challenge to their momentum.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The last home series of the year is also the last chance for the Brewers to experience some success against the Cardinals. They're 4-12 in their first 16 games against St. Louis this season.

Hopefully they can do a little better at 7:10 tonight when Johnny Hellweg (8.43 ERA, 7.43 FIP) takes the mound. Hellweg's rough MLB debut season continued on Saturday, when he pitched five innings against the Reds and allowed four runs on eight hits, walking one, striking out one and hitting three batters. He threw 84 pitches in that outing and had his ERA go down from 8.64 to 8.31.

All four of the runs Hellweg allowed in his last outing came in the first two innings, so at least he has three innings of momentum to build on. If he can get through the order the first time without issue he might be ok: So far over five starts this season he's allowed five first inning runs and ten more in the second.

This is the first time the Cardinals have seen Hellweg.

He'll face rookie righty Shelby Miller (3.01 ERA, 3.63 FIP), who is having an excellent rookie season. Miller pitched five innings against the Mariners on Sunday and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, walking two and striking out one. He threw 95 pitches in that game.

If there's one weakness in Miller's game, it's the long ball. He's allowed 15 in his last 86 innings (about 1.6 per nine innings), and posted a 3.98 ERA over that time. The 161.1 innings he's thrown this season are also a career high, up from 150 a year ago.

Miller has dominated the Brewers this season, facing them four times and posting a 1.08 ERA over 25 innings. He's walked seven and struck out 25 over that time. Three Brewers have faced him ten times or more:

Norichika Aoki 12 12 5 0 0 1 1 0 2 .417 .417 .667 1.083
Jonathan Lucroy 12 10 3 0 0 0 2 1 0 .300 .333 .300 .633
Jean Segura 12 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 86 76 16 1 0 1 3 6 21 .211 .274 .263 .537
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/20/2013.

Tonight's lineup is as follows:

Norichika Aoki RF
Scooter Gennett 2B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Caleb Gindl LF
Sean Halton 1B
Jeff Bianchi SS
Johnny Hellweg P

And in the bullpen:

  • Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (21 pitches) yesterday.
  • Alfredo Figaro pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
  • Michael Gonzalez pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
  • Donovan Hand pitched one inning (14 pitches) yesterday.
  • Jimmy Nelson pitched two innings (42 pitches) on Wednesday.
  • Michael Blazek pitched one inning (eleven pitches) on Wednesday.
  • Brandon Kintzler and Jim Henderson pitched on Tuesday.
  • Rob Wooten last pitched on Monday.
  • Tom Gorzelanny is hoping to pitch again before the end of the season but is still bothered by shoulder soreness.

The Miller Park roof hotline says the roof is expected to be open for tonight's game, with temperatures in the 60's under partly cloudy skies. If the roof and panels are open, expect the wind to be blowing out.