Game #6: Diamondbacks @ Brewers

Christian Petersen

The Diamondbacks go for the sweep against the Brewers, but to do so, they have to go through the Milwaukee ace, Gallardo. Based on the previous attempts, he owns Arizona in a way undreamed of by Babbitt Ranches...

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Ian Kennedy
RHP, 1-0, 2.57

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Yovani Gallardo
RHP, 0-0, 5.40

D-backs line-up:

Not available. Look, I'm writing this before going to bed on Saturday night, and am looking forward to a decent lie-in on a Sunday morning, which I refuse to spoil just because the Diamondbacks are playing in the Eastern time zone. It'll be in the Gameday Thread, dammit...

Disturbing fact of the day. We've never beaten the Brewers when Gallardo has been pitching for them. Never. That covers seven regular season contests, plus two playoff games, and Arizona's record is 0-9. The general trend has been better. However, could hardly be otherwise, given the first couple of times we saw him, in 2007, the combined scores had us on the wrong end of a 19-1 thumping. Two out of the past three (going back to the finale of the 2011 NLDS) were actually one-run games. In those nine times, we have scored more than a single earned run off him once. We scored two. And he still struck out ten D-backs in five innings.

Bottom line. He has a 1.09 ERA against Arizona. In the regular season, it's 1.02. And that doesn't even include the six shutout innings he posted this spring, while pitching for Mexico in a WBC warm-up. I don't think there's any pitcher who has the evil eye over the Diamondbacks in this way. I mean, he's a good pitcher and all. A very good one. But an ERA barely reaching one, after six seasons of opportunities? Damn. The current D-backs roster hits a collective .228 against him (including both regular and post-season shots), and don't expect Prado to be much help, since he's 3-for-18 lifetime.

Still, it will be interesting to see how the new, patient Diamondbacks do, because they've been doing pretty well - their current OPS of .811, through five games, is fourth in the majors, and only the Orioles have more hits. It will also help if the Brewers offense is as lackluster as it has been, not least because of the absence of arguably its two heaviest hitters this series. I absolutely do not wish illness or injury on anyone, and never have. But I am perfectly happy for Arizona to take full advantage when opponents have been weakened by such things - and would completely expect them to do the same.

I suspect Kennedy will likely agree with me. For his past numbers against the Brewers are a bit up and down, but the likely absence of Braun* (well, it's likely at 11pm on Saturday night) would be a big boost. Because Braun* is 9-for-18 with an .833 slugging percentage against Kennedy. If that is tucked away in the treatment room, receiving some kind of soothing balm (thoroughly MLB-approved, I assume), it's probably alright with IPK. Having won the first two games of the series, overall victory is already in the bag, but if we can make the tenth time the charm and sweep our way out of town, so much the better.

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