The Brewers began the year as the only other team in the majors batting the pitcher 8th but have since changed their minds, moving Jason Kendall and his sterling 76 OPS+ to the 8 hole and the pitcher back to the bottom. The team is right behind the Cards offensively – averaging 4.73 runs per game to the Cards 4.78. They’ve been a little better at home on offense while the Cards have been much better on the road. I guess we should expect more offense if this were being played in Miller Park, huh?
Like the Cards, the Brewers have had some troubles on the mound. Presently, they’re again just behind the Cards, yielding 4.46 runs per game to the Cards 4.45. Their bullpen ERA is 4.20, just ahead of the Cards’ 4.21 which put the two teams at 10th and 11th in the NL, respectively. The Brewers Defensive Efficiency Ratio is .697 to the Cards’ .698. They’re 1 game behind in the standings (even in the loss column) and their Pythagorean record is 51-47 to the Cards’ 53-47 – again, even in the loss column. Both teams are exactly 4 games better than their Pythagorean records say they should be. Sounds like two extremely evenly matched teams.
Historically, this has been a team that has struggled away from home but their 24-26 record so far this year is 4th best in the NL. The Cards are 30-21 at home (and are, incidentally 27-22 – best in the NL on the road).
Tonight’s starter for the Brew Crew is Seth McClung – a guy who’s become one of two pawns in the Brewers' Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde experiment. They are platooning starting pitchers -- starting Dave Bush at home and McClung on the road. Bush has been awful on the road and solid at home while the reverse is true for McClung. This experiment is based, partly, on McClung's 40 whole innings in Milwaukee and 35.2 innings on the road. Uhhh...small sample size anyone? Maybe it's based more on Bush's splits who, at least, has a pretty sizable home/road split for his career -- involving 390 and 345 innings, respectively.
McClung does walk too many and has given up too many homers but has struck out 7.7 per 9 IP. His GB% of 40.2% is low and very similar to his career numbers. If it’s warm tonight, the Cards could get some balls in the seats. Tomorrow it’ll be Suppan and then their big boys, Sabathia and Sheets. And, in case you missed it, the Brewers have a new man at the keystone to go along w/ their new ace as they added Ray Durham yesterday. Let’s win this one, boys. The pitching matchups only get tougher from here.
P.S. There is, apparently, no picture of Seth McClung on file -- thus, the X. I mean this as no intentional slight towards Mr. McClung and will take full responsibility should this insult lead to a Brewers' wipeout of the Cards tonight. Please Cards and (gulp!) Mr. Pineiro! Please bail me out!!!!