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Tonight's Matchup: Brewers (Gallardo) v Pirates (Cole)

Can the Brewers avoid their fifth five-game losing streak of 2013?

Mike McGinnis

I'll admit it, the Pirates are my second favorite NL Central team...although that's mostly determined by process of elimination. Still, I'd like it if the Brewers would at least make them work for the NL Central championship.

They'll get a chance to do that tonight at 7:10 when they send Yovani Gallardo (4.39 ERA, 3.92 FIP) to face Pittsburgh for the second time in a week. Gallardo pitched seven shutout innings against the Pirates on Thursday, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out five.

Gallardo is riding a streak of three consecutive quality starts entering play tonight, which matches a season high. The fact that Gallardo has never pitched six innings with three runs or less in four consecutive starts in 2013 says a lot about the kind of season he's had. He has, however, lowered his ERA by 52 points in the month of August. That's no small feat.

This is Gallardo's fifth and final appearance against the Pirates in 2013. In his previous four starts he has a 2.63 ERA over 24 innings with nine walks and 22 strikeouts. Ten current Pirates have faced him ten times or more:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Andrew McCutchen 36 34 9 2 1 1 4 2 2 .265 .306 .471 .776
Garrett Jones 31 22 5 0 0 0 1 8 4 .227 .419 .227 .647
Gaby Sanchez 28 24 7 2 0 1 5 4 5 .292 .393 .500 .893
Pedro Alvarez 23 20 1 1 0 0 2 3 9 .050 .174 .100 .274
Marlon Byrd 21 18 4 0 0 0 0 3 5 .222 .333 .222 .556
Neil Walker 21 19 6 0 0 0 2 1 4 .316 .381 .316 .697
Clint Barmes 19 17 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 .059 .158 .059 .217
Jose Tabata 18 15 4 1 0 0 0 3 3 .267 .389 .333 .722
John Buck 15 13 5 0 0 1 3 2 4 .385 .467 .615 1.082
Justin Morneau 10 8 4 2 0 0 1 2 0 .500 .600 .750 1.350
Total 253 217 52 10 2 3 20 34 53 .240 .344 .346 .689
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/3/2013.

He'll face 22-year-old Pirates righty Gerrit Cole (3.80 ERA, 3.41 FIP) for the second time in a week. Cole was good but not great against the Brewers on Thursday, allowing four runs (three earned) on ten hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out four.

The Brewers will be the first MLB team to face Cole a third time, so it'll be interesting to see if they've learned anything that proves useful tonight. With that said, he throws a upper 90's fastball almost two thirds of the time, so it's not like there's some unsolved mystery in his arsenal.

As mentioned above, the Brewers have already seen Cole twice this season and he has a 4.05 ERA against them over 13.1 innings. No current Brewers have faced him ten times or more, of course.

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

And in the bullpen:

  • Alfredo Figaro pitched one inning (20 pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Sunday.
  • Michael Gonzalez pitched .1 innings (three pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Sunday.
  • Rob Wooten pitched .2 innings (ten pitches) yesterday, and also pitched on Sunday.
  • Michael Blazek pitched one inning (15 pitches) yesterday.
  • Tom Gorzelanny faced one batter (two pitches) yesterday before leaving with shoulder soreness.
  • Donovan Hand pitched 1.1 innings (15 pitches) on Sunday.
  • Jim Henderson and Brandon Kintzler last pitched on Saturday.
  • Burke Badenhop last pitched on Friday.

It looks like a beautiful night for baseball in Milwaukee tonight. Expect a game-time temperature around 70 under partly cloudy skies with winds blowing out to left.