The Brewers (55-72) arrive at Great American Ball Park for a three-game series this weekend no longer in last place in the NL Central. Here is a summary of the starting pitching match-ups.

KEY: K/9 and BB/9 are the number of strikeouts and walks the pitcher records in 9 innings. SwStr% is the percentage of their pitches when the batter swings and misses. ERA measures the earned runs that score that are assigned to the pitcher. FIP is a measure of how the pitcher has pitched based on strikeouts, walks, HBP and home runs. xFIP adjusts FIP by normalizing home run rates. SIERA further refines FIP by including an analysis of the kind of batted balls (ground balls, fly balls, line drives) the pitcher has actually given up. (Longer post comparing ERA, FIP, xFIP and SIERA here.) WAR is the FanGraphs estimate for wins above replacement.

The blue and red shading represent when the pitcher is one of the best 12 (blue) or worst 12 (red) starters in the National League in that category. Minimum innings assumed was 80 so that all six pitchers in this series could be ranked. Sixty-three pitchers in the NL met that innings criteria.

Fri 7:10 Age IP K/9 BB/9 SwStr% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA WAR
Yovani Gallardo (R) 27 134.2 6.95 3.54 6.8 4.68 3.99 3.91 4.22 1.1
Homer Bailey (R) 27 164 8.84 2.03 10.8 3.68 3.13 3.15 3.21 3.3

Gallardo and Bailey were both selected in the 2004 draft. They debuted within ten days of each other in 2007, both at age 21. Gallardo certainly was the better pitcher up through the 2011 season. But while Homer Bailey’s trend lines are still improving, Gallardo’s are moving in the other direction. Bailey’s WAR passed Gallardo’s in 2012 (although they were close) and the Reds’ pitcher has clearly been stronger in 2013.

Despite Gallardo’s ranking in the bottom twelve in ERA, he’s dominated the Reds in his two most recent starts, throwing 12.1 shutout innings and giving up only six hits. Bailey, on the other hand, finally threw a good game against the Brewers in his most recent start on Sunday, holding them to one run and three hits over eight innings. His two previous starts against Milwaukee this year were pretty awful.

Sat 7:10 Age IP K/9 BB/9 SwStr% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA WAR
Wily Peralta (R) 24 148.2 5.93 3.51 8.4 4.60 4.19 4.08 4.37 1.0
Bronson Arroyo (R) 36 161.2 5.62 1.45 5.9 3.40 3.97 3.89 4.09 1.6

Peralta has faced the Reds three times this season. In July at GABP, Peralta shutout the Reds on three hits in his only complete game of the year. In May, the Reds beat Peralta, although he had a quality start (barely). But just last Sunday, the Reds rocked Peralta for eight hits, four walks and seven earned runs in four innings. That sort of inconsistency has marked Peralta’s second half.

Arroyo didn’t face the Brewers last weekend, but does have two quality starts from earlier in the year. As you can see, Arroyo gets it done without the usual strikeout rate. His BB/9 is the fourth lowest in the NL. That’s why he’s consistently outperformed the advanced stats in his career with the Reds.

Sun 1:10 Age IP K/9 BB/9 SwStr% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA WAR
Marco Estrada (R) 29 86.1 7.71 1.98 9.8 4.80 4.61 3.84 3.74 0.2
Tony Cingrani (L) 24 90.1 10.06 3.19 10.0 2.59 3.66 3.46 3.31 1.4

On Tuesday, it didn’t look like Tony Cingrani would make this start. He left the game in the fourth inning with a lower back strain. But as of today, he’s been cleared to pitch and is listed as the probable starter for Sunday.

I proposed yesterday that the Reds promote Greg Reynolds from AAA to make this start and push Cingrani back to Monday so he can open the Cardinals series. The Reds could skip Mike Leake (and he’d back up Cingrani) and allow Latos and Bailey to go ahead with their regular starts against St. Louis. Power arms, please. But it looks like that’s not gonna happen.

Cingrani has the highest K/9 rate among all National League starters with at least 80 IP (Mike Leake has the third worst). He beat the Brewers a week ago Thursday in the series opener. He struck out nine, walked one and gave up three hits in 6.1 innings. He also pitched well against the Brewers in July.

Marco Estrada quietly had an outstanding 2012 season, with a 3.64 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 9.30 K/9 and 1.89 BB/9. But he hasn’t been able to follow up with an equally strong 2013. Estrada was sidelined for June and July with a pulled hamstring. He’s made three starts since coming off the DL, with two of them quality.