With 22 games to play, the Brewers are 24 games out in the NL Central.
They'll get a chance to push back elimination by at least a day at 7:10 tonight when they send Wily Peralta (4.51 ERA, 4.25 FIP) to the mound to take on the Pirates. Peralta pitched a quality start but picked up a loss against the Angels on Friday, allowing three runs on four hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out six in that outing.
Since July 1 Peralta has a 3.06 ERA over eleven starts and 55 strikeouts over 67.2 innings. The latter number is particularly encouraging, as from April-June his strikeout rate dwindled to 5 per nine innings. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of his first major league start, and he posted a 2.25 ERA over five September appearances a year ago.
Peralta has made 28 MLB starts this season, but this is his first one against the Pirates. No current Pirates have faced him ten times or more, but new Pirates John Buck and Justin Morneau are a combined 3-for-5 against him with a pair of RBI.
He'll face veteran lefty Francisco Liriano (2.57 ERA, 2.64 FIP), who is working on maintaining a career year. He picked up his NL-leading 15th win against the Cardinals on Friday, pitching eigh shutout innings and allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. He's had three disaster starts in the last two months, along with eught appearances where he's pitched seven innings or more and allowed two runs or less.
Liriano represents a pretty rare combination of high strikeout totals with very low home runs. Liriano and Matt Harvey of the Mets are the only NL pitchers with at least 130 innings pitched, better than one strikeout per inning and less than half a home run per nine innings. There have only been four other NL pitchers to do that since 1998.
Liriano has already beaten the Brewers twice in two starts against them this season, allowing a combined two runs on 13 hits over 11.2 innings with 13 strikeouts. Three current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Tonight's lineup is as follows:
Norichika Aoki RF
Carlos Gomez CF
Jonathan Lucroy 1B
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Khris Davis LF
Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
Jeff Bianchi SS
Martin Maldonado C
Wily Peralta P
And in the bullpen:
- Brandon Kintzler pitched one inning (37 pitches) last night.
- Jim Henderson pitched one inning (19 pitches) last night.
- Alfredo Figaro pitched one inning (20 pitches) on Monday.
- Michael Blazek pitched one inning (15 pitches) on Monday.
- Rob Wooten pitched .2 innings (ten pitches) on Monday.
- Michael Gonzalez pitched .1 innings (three pitches) on Monday.
- Tom Gorzelanny faced one batter (two pitches) on Monday before leaving the game with shoulder soreness.
- Donovan Hand last pitched on Sunday.
- Jimmy Nelson started for Nashville on Saturday.
- Burke Badenhop last pitched on Friday.
It's a nice day in Milwaukee but it might cool off quickly as the evening goes along. Expect a game-time temperature around 69 under mostly cloudy skies with winds blowing from left to right.