The Brewers have lost four of their last five spring training games, but today maybe a change of scenery can snap them out of it.
At 3:05 Central time today they'll be in Tempe for the first time in 2014 to take on Hector Santiago (0.00 ERA this spring, 3.56/4.44 ERA/FIP in 2013) and the Angels. Santiago is 26 years old, throws left handed and went from the White Sox to the Angels in December in the three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks. Santiago last pitched against the Cubs on Friday and worked four shutout innings, allowing a single hit and recording five strikeouts.
Santiago is the latest in a long string of lefties the Brewers have faced this spring. So far as a team they're hitting .294/.389/.456 against southpaws, but seeing a lefty take the mound isn't good news for everyone: Scooter Gennett, Khris Davis and Martin Maldonado are a combined 1-for-22 against them this spring.
Santiago has never faced the Brewers in the majors.
He'll face Matt Garza (13.50 ERA this spring, 3.82/3.88 ERA/FIP in 2013), who could really use an encouraging outing. Garza pitched three innings against the Padres on Friday and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, walking none and striking out three. He's allowed ten hits in four innings this spring.
After his last start it was well documented that Garza hadn't thrown a slider yet this spring. It's reasonable to expect he wouldn't have much success without it, as it's both a large part of his arsenal (about 25% of all pitches over the last three years) and his best pitch. It'll be interesting to see if he breaks it out today, with roughly 3-4 starts remaining before Opening Day.
Garza faced the Angels four different times as a member of the Cubs and Rangers in 2013, posting a 4.56 ERA against them over 25.2 innings with six walks and 18 strikeouts. No less than ten current Angels have faced him ten times or more:
Mike Vassallo has today's lineup and travel roster:
Expect another beautiful day for baseball in Tempe, with a game-time temperature around 75 and light east winds.