The Pitcher: Jimmy Nelson
Amazingly, the Brewers do not have what most fans would consider an ace. Their rotation consists of Jimmy Nelson, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson, Matt Garza, and Junior Guerra. This weekend, the Phils face the first two mentioned and Garza.
Nelson is coming off two seasons with at least 30 starts and is on pace to do it again. In both seasons, he has eclipsed 140 strikeouts and with 118 to this point is ready to shatter that number.
Nelson has been really strong for Milwaukee with ten quality starts and a strong 8-4 record this season. He leads the Brewers with 109 innings pitched, a 3.30 ERA, and 118 strikeouts. Nelson has K’d 9.74 hitters per nine innings.
Reviewing the Brew
The right-hander has only had two starts in which he was blown up by offenses. Both of them came in April. The Cubs got to him for seven runs and the Braves put up five runs against him. Since then, he has started 13 games and has allowed three earned runs or less in ten of them. Eight of those starts were six innings or more, including a complete game, ten-strikeout performance at home against San Diego.
The Phillies have a few guys that have faced the 28 year old in their careers. Odubel Herrera, Tommy Joseph, and Cameron Rupp all have two hits against him. Maikel Franco has one in six at bats.
The Alabama product has been much better at home throughout his career. In 300 innings pitched at home, he holds a 3.54 ERA (4.92 on the road). He has started 51 games at Miller Park and has allowed a slash of .248/.316/.397 and 34 homers.
It is interesting to note that Nelson does struggle with his command against lefties. He walked 13% of lefties he faced last season and relies heavily on his sinker to get grounders. Nelson gets quite a bit of groundballs, but does not avoid contact well. The Phillies will have to make the sinker come up in the zone because otherwise, it will be a very frustrating start to the unofficial second half of the season.