The Brewers and Diamondbacks meet three times in the 2014 Cactus League. Arizona won the first one, 2-1 on March 1. The Brewers got revenge at home, winning 9-8 on Friday.
The spring series is on the line today when the Brewers meet Trevor Cahill (9.82 ERA this spring, 3.99/4.26 ERA/FIP in 2013) at 3:05 Central time. Cahill is making his fourth start of the spring and his first since Tuesday, when he was roughed up by the Indians. He allowed five runs on nine hits over 4.2 innings in that game, walking one and striking out two. Despite his 9.82 ERA, he's recorded ten strikeouts in eleven innings this spring.
It's likely we'll see most of the Diamondbacks regulars today in their final Cactus League game before heading over to Australia. They'll open the MLB season over there on Saturday in a game scheduled to start at 3 am Central time. Cahill is expected to pitch the second game of that series, so this is his final pre-season tuneup. He throws a 90 mph fastball with a slider, changeup and curve. The changeup is his most effective pitch.
Cahill faced the Brewers earlier this spring and worked 3.1 innings on March 1, allowing a single run on two hits, a walk and a hit batsman. He did not face the Brewers during the regular season in 2013. No current Brewers have faced him ten times or more, but Elian Herrera is 2-for-6 against him.
He'll face the Brewers' Opening Day starter, Yovani Gallardo (1.13 ERA this spring, 4.18/3.89 ERA/FIP in 2013) in his fourth of what's likely to be six spring outings. Gallardo is lined up to pitch the season opener on normal rest, assuming he works on four days' rest on Friday and again on Wednesday, March 26. He pitched 3.2 shutout innings against the White Sox on Monday, allowing just two hits and a walk while recording three strikeouts.
Efficiency may be something to watch for from Gallardo again today. He's been lifted mid-inning from each of his last two starts because he's run into his pitch count. He still has plenty of time to stretch out before Opening Day, but has yet to record more than ten outs in a game this spring.
Gallardo faced the Diamondbacks twice in 2013 and was unspectacular in both outings, allowing a combined seven runs on 13 hits over 12 innings while recording just six strikeouts. I prefer to remember his pair of starts against them in the 2011 NLDS, when he held them to two runs over 14 innings. Four current D-Backs have faced him ten times or more:
Mike Vassallo has today's lineup:
Today's #Brewers lineup vs. Arizona at Talking Stick. First pitch 3:05 CT. Webcast on http://t.co/zg3WAmjtKu. pic.twitter.com/K4l9Ab9R1n— Mike Vassallo (@MikeVassallo13) March 16, 2014
This is where I usually mention that the weather in Arizona is awesome and, as you might expect, it's awesome again today. Expect a game-time temperature in the mid 70's to climb up to around 80 with light winds.