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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Estrada) @ Braves (Minor)

Note the earlier start time as the Brewers wrap up the season on the east coast.

Brian Garfinkel

190 days from today the Brewers open the 2014 season at home against the Braves.

It'll be a little easier to think that far ahead at 6:10 tonight, as the Brewers open a series against Mike Minor (3.19 ERA, 3.33 FIP) and Atlanta. Minor, the former #7 overall pick in the 2009 draft, is in his fourth major league season and has already set a career high by pitching 191.2 innings. He last pitched against Washington on Tuesday and allowed three runs on three hits over six innings, walking four and striking out three.

Minor has been having some issues with inconsistency lately. He has a 4.67 ERA over his last six starts, but it's hard to put a finger on the issue: He's had two high walk starts and three starts where he's allowed a combined five home runs over that span, and none of those games overlap. He'll throw a 90 mph fastball with a steady mix of changeups, sliders and curves.

The Brewers have not faced Minor this season. Aramis Ramirez is the only Brewer who's faced him ten times or more, and he has a .429/.429/.714 line in 14 PAs.

He'll face 30-year-old Brewer righty Marco Estrada (4.26 ERA, 4.13 FIP), who could be the only Brewer starter with two starts remaining this season. Estrada received a no-decision on Tuesday when he pitched seven innings against the Cubs and allowed three runs on four hits, walking one and striking out seven. He has a 2.62 ERA over his last seven starts but has received a no-decision in five of those outings.

Estrada occasionally draws comparisons to Dave Bush, and that feels right: He has the capacity for dominance like Bush did, but also middling overall results. A statistical look implies they don't have THAT much in common, though. By the end of his age 30 season Bush had way more MLB innings (1104 compared to 376.1 and counting for Estrada) but Estrada has a much lower ERA (4.30 as compared to 4.66) and much better strikeout numbers (8.8 per nine innings, 6.1 for Bush). By the way, Bush only pitched in 18 more games in the majors after his age 30 season.

Estrada has not pitched against the Braves this season. Two current Braves have faced him ten times or more:

Dan Uggla 12 11 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .091 .167 .091 .258
Brian McCann 11 11 5 0 0 0 1 0 1 .455 .455 .455 .909
Total 58 54 12 0 0 2 6 3 12 .222 .263 .333 .596
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/23/2013.

Tonight's Brewers lineup is as follows:

Norichika Aoki RF
Carlos Gomez CF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Khris Davis LF
Sean Halton 1B
Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
Jeff Bianchi SS
Marco Estrada P

Meanwhile, @BrewerNation notes that Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla are all out of the lineup for the Braves.

In the bullpen:

  • Donovan Hand pitched two innings (21 pitches) last night.
  • Jim Henderson pitched one inning (27 pitches) last night.
  • Brandon Kintzler pitched one inning (18 pitches) last night.
  • Alfredo Figaro pitched 1.1 innings (19 pitches) on Saturday.
  • Rob Wooten pitched .2 innings (33 pitches) on Saturday.
  • Michael Gonzalez and Michael Blazek last pitched on Friday.
  • Burke Badenhop last pitched on Thursday.
  • Jimmy Nelson last pitched on Wednesday.
  • Tom Gorzelanny is still working his way back from shoulder soreness.

It sounds like a nice night for baseball in Georgia. Expect a game-time temperature around 75 with light winds blowing from right to left.