Duffy, Counsell start against Dempster

Chris Duffy gets his first start of the season tonight and Craig Counsell makes his second start as Milwaukee faces Brewer-killer Ryan Dempster and the Cubs in an Easter Sunday night series finale. It’s the Brewers’ first appearance on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball since July 20, 1997, when Scott Karl out-pitched the Yankees’ Hideki Irabu in a 6-2 Brewers win.

Here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Craig Counsell  3B
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
J.J. Hardy  SS
Corey Hart  RF
Chris Duffy  CF
Jason Kendall  C
Jeff Suppan  RHP

Dempster killed the Brewers last seaosn, going 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in five starts and allowing one run in five innings of the only no-decision. Jason Kendall is the only Brewer with decent career numbers against Dempster (16-for-37, .432). Here are some other key Brewers against Dempster:

Braun: 2-for-15, .133
Mike Cameron: 3-for-18, .167 seven strikeouts
Counsell: 3-for-15, .200
Duffy: 2-for-4, one walk
Fielder: 4-for-16, .250, one home run, two walks, three strikeouts
Bill Hall: 3-for-18, .167 seven strikeouts
Hardy: 2-for-18, .111
Hart: 1-for-14, .071, three walks, six strikeouts
Weeks: 2-for-9, .222, three walks, three strikeouts

Ouch.

In his pregame session with reporters, manager Ken Macha said Trevor Hoffman would throw again on flat ground Monday and was scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time on Wednesday. In the meantime, Carlos Villanueva will continue to fill in, and Villanueva approached Macha on Sunday to essentially say, “I’m ready to go.” That was a good sign, Macha said, that Saturday’s blown save was not affecting the young right-hander.
 

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