Pregame notes: Brewers using emergency starter
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins look for a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon, as RHP Carl Pavano (4-4, 4.11) battles RHP Marco Estrada (0-0, 6.23), and a cast of others.
Estrada, a sixth-round draft pick by the Nationals in 2005, is the emergency starter for the Brewers today, because manager Ken Macha elected to use Manny Parra in last night's extra-inning affair. Parra threw 1 2/3 innings and allowed the game-winning sacrifice fly to Jason Kubel, as the Twins came away with a wild 8-7 victory.
Estrada is expected to be on a very limited pitch count, so look for the Brewers bullpen -- a unit that has the second-worst ERA in baseball (6.22) -- to see plenty of action. And look for Macha to be sitting within arm's reach of the bullpen phone.
Pavano has been either fantastic or terrible, with no middle ground, in each of his eight starts this season.
A couple nuggets about Pavano this season:
- He's allowing the fewer fly balls (34.8%) than at any point since 2005.
- He's throwing more first pitch strikes than at any point in his career (69%) -- a mark that ranks second in the Major Leagues behind Carlos Silva (70%).
- He's throwing more off-speed pitches (44%) than at any point in his career, according to MLB Pitch F/X data.
* 2B Orlando Hudson, who came out of the game after being hit in the elbow by a pick-off attempt in the seventh inning last night, is back in the starting lineup today.
"He was hurting pretty good yesterday," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "but he came in today after icing a whole lot and said he feels good, he's ready to go."