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2011 MLB Playoffs: A Sneak Peek at Brewers/D-Backs Pitching Match Ups

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2011 MLB Playoffs: A Sneak Peek at Brewers/D-Backs Pitching Match Ups
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Does Yovani Gallardo have what it takes to win another one?

We continue our series of looking at pitching matchups by looking at the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Tonight's game is a rematch of the Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo match up from Game 1. Will the Brewers dominate again, or do the D-Backs have a fighting chance?

Looking at the pitching matchups could give us a clue. I am using Bill James 2011 Match-Ups Application. It is a handy little tool to look at what every pitcher has done in his career against every hitter. While it cannot predict the future completely, it can help us handicap the game.

The Brewers

1. Yovani Gallardo— .211 (128 AB) 3 HR allowed, 8 walks, 34 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Gerardo Parra (1 for 9, 6 Ks)

    Hates to Face: Justin Upton (4 for 12)

2. John Axford— .103 (29 AB) 0 HR allowed, 5 walks, 13 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Justin Upton (0 for 5, 3 Ks)

    Hates to Face: Miguel Montero (1 for 2, 2 BBs)

3. Francisco Rodriguez— .204 (49 AB) 0 HR allowed, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Aaron Hill (1 for 7, 1 BB)

    Hates to Face: Gerardo Parra (2 for 4)

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
It's hard to see Ian Kennedy getting blown up again.

4. Latroy Hawkins— .185 (65 AB) 2 HR allowed, 7 walks, 15 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Justin Upton (0 for 7, 2 Ks)

    Hates to Face: Miguel Montero (2 for 5, HR)

5. Takashi Saito— .148 (54 AB) 0 HR allowed, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Chris Young (1 for 8)

    Hates to Face: Justin Upton (1 for 3)

6. Marco Estrada— .130 (23 AB) 0 HR allowed, 0 walks, 12 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Gerardo Parra (0 for 5)

    Hates to Face: Paul Goldschmidt (1 for 1)

Diamondbacks

1. Ian Kennedy— .235 (98 AB) 2 HR allowed, 7 walks, 15 walks

    Loves to Face: Corey Hart (1 for 9, 1 BB)

    Hates to Face: Prince Fielder (4 for 12, 2 HR)

2. J.J. Putz— .233 (30 AB) 0 HR allowed, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Jerry Hairston (0 for 4, 1 BB)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Dbacks took it to five games by keeping Axford off the hill.

    Hates to Face: Mark Kotsay (3 for 7)

3. David Hernandez— .132 (38 AB) 1 HR allowed, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Corey Hart (0 for 6, 2K)

    Hates to Face: Yuniesky Betancourt (1 for 1, HR)

4. Micah Owings— .300 (100 AB) 2 HR allowed, 6 walks, 19 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Rickie Weeks (2 for 14, 4Ks)

    Hates to Face: Prince Fielder (7 for 13, 2 BBs)

5. Joe Paterson— .333 (12 AB) 0 HR allowed, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts

    Loves to Face: Prince Fielder (1 for 5, 4Ks)

    Hates to Face: Jonathan Lucroy (1 for 1)

6. Brad Ziegler— .500 (16 AB) 0 HR allowed, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

    Loves to Face: Yuniesky Betancourt (1 for 6, 2 BB)

    Hates to Face: Ryan Braun (1 for 1)

Scouting the Brewers

We've already seen one Game 5, and both managers dipped into the rotations during the game. Ron Roenicke needs to avoid the temptation to the do the same. He holds most of the cards. He lacks a lefty he can trust, but he has five relievers that haven't yielded an average better than .204 against them.

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Furthermore, he has Kameron Loe and Sergio Mitre in reserve if he runs into some real trouble. The D-Backs managed to win both games by battering the starting pitcher into oblivion. That isn't likely to happen this time around. Just manage the way you managed the first 162, and the odds are in your favor.

Scouting the Diamondbacks

I'm guessing that Ian Kennedy will not struggle like he did in Game 1. His overall numbers against the Brewers are still very good, and without Game 1 included, it would be just as good as Gallardo. Kirk Gibson is in better shape than he thinks. Most of the damage against Owings was done when he was a starter. Plus, Paterson may have a high BA against him, but those were all singles, and he had no walks. A .666 OPS against is still solid.

Brad Ziegler hasn't been used much, and doesn't have much of a track record because he spent most of his career in Oakland. So he is the X-factor in this particular contest. He has the pedigree to be a setup man, so Gibson may make good use of him in the seventh inning.

Final Overview

I detest when managers decide to throw in a starter into relief. You win 95 or more games playing one way, and then choose to abandon it when elimination is on the line? You win by playing your best players in the situations they are familiar in. Watch tonight to see which manager can go according to the blueprint they set up for most of the season. That's likely your winner.

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