Well, that was a tough road trip to say the least. After dropping their two-game series in Houston against the struggling Astros, the Diamondbacks traveled to Hollywood to face the Dodgers. That didn't go well either, as Arizona dropped two of three for a 1-4 road trip overall. In Friday night's opener, rookie right hander Chase Anderson was simply outdueled by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, unable to come back in a 4-3 loss. The Dodgers jumped on starter Josh Collmenter for four runs in the fourth inning on Saturday, as Arizona simply couldn't recover for the 6-4 defeat. Right hander Bronson Arroyo put together another strong short, giving up one run in five innings as Arizona powered its way to a 6-3 victory to end the trip.
Arizona's offense ranks 12th in the majors this year in runs scored (290), putting together an average of 4.08 per game en route to a .257 batting average. They're also a top-10 offense when at Chase Field, scoring 4.11 runs per game at home and batting .262 (with a .317 on-base percentage). Arizona's pitching staff, while improved, remains one of the league's worst with a 4.45 ERA and yielding a .269 batting average. Their team ERA drops to 4.57 when at home (while their ranking increases), which is part of the reason why they are 12-24 when at home this season. Arizona has won just four of their last ten games en route to a 30-42 record in 2014, and they are 14 games behind San Francisco for first place in the NL West.
Milwaukee is one of the early elite teams in the majors this season, in part because of the great balance they have at the plate and on the mound. The "Brew Crew" have scored an average of 4.29 runs per game this season and overall the tenth most in the majors. They're even better on the road, averaging 4.46 runs per game on the road while being one of the league's top road teams overall (21-14). They have the eighth-best statistical pitching staff in baseball, posting an ERA of 3.49 while posting 46 quality starts. They do drop off a bit on the road, dropping their team ERA to 3.90 and holding hitters to a .247 average.
The Brewers go back on the road after dropping two of three games to the Cincinnati Reds at home, and have gone 6-4 overall in their last ten games. Their four-game set against Arizona kicks off a seven-game road trip for them that wraps up in Colorado on June 22nd. Milwaukee is 41-29 overall this season, 3.5 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in leading the NL Central.
On The Mend
Arizona outfielder Ender Inciarte was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Friday. He is expected to return to the active roster when activated.
Despite his strong start Sunday, the condition of Diamondbacks right hander Bronson Arroyo's elbow may be worsening, which could lead to a stint on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Arroyo spoke with MLB.com's Steve Gilbert about the elbow, saying:
"It’s just slowly sliding downhill," #Dbacks Bronson Arroyo said of the condition of his elbow. Has never missed start in 19 years.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) June 16, 2014
In response to Ender Inciarte being places on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Friday, the Diamondbacks recalled outfielder Tony Campana from Triple-A Reno.
Mark Reynolds: Stilling Hitting Bombs
We are now in the fourth season of the post-Mark Reynolds era, but boy sometimes it feels like some of his homers are still flying in Chase Field. His bomb to the Fatburger in left-center field against the Dodgers remains one of my favorite memories in my time as a Diamondbacks. Actually, my favorite home run may be one I got to see live, as Reynolds matched up against Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton (at the peak of his career) in a one-run ball game, and launch a home run to straightaway center field.
After hitting 37 home runs and 86 RBIs for Baltimore in his first season away from the desert, Reynolds has bounced around a bit (playing for the Orioles, Indians, Yankees, and Brewers). But two things have stayed the same: he hits a lot of home runs (and long ones), and he strikes out a lot. In his three full seasons since moving on from Arizona, Reynolds has hit 37, 23, and 21 home runs, hovering around the Mendoza line each year. He has not struck out more than 200 times since he has left Arizona, but has still had at least 150 strikeouts each year. He is on track for both (13 home runs, 73 strikeouts) through his first 58 games of 2014. He remains a player who does one of three things every at-bat: homer, strike out, or a walk.
Considered to be the first "big move" of the Kevin Towers era, the Reynolds trade remains as a reminder of the old regime, and of the power tandem that Justin Upton and Reynolds had (and what they COULD have had with Paul Goldschimdt. Oh my.). David Hernandez had a strong first two seasons in Arizona, but struggled in 2013 before missing the whole 2014 season to Tommy John surgery. What is left from this deal remains to be seen, however.
Game 1, Monday 6:40 PT: RHP Wily Peralta (6-5, 2.90 ERA, 4.04 FIP) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-9, 5.29 ERA, 4.04 FIP)
After a couple poor starts, Peralta came up huge in has last start, giving up a run on four hits over 6.1 innings in a win over the Mets. He is 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA on the road this season, but has finished the seventh inning just once outside of Miller Park this season. McCarthy has had more than his share of struggles this season, and struggled to give up five runs in six innings while picking up the loss against the Astros in his last outing. He's actually got more hits (three) this season than he does wins (one), which goes to show not only the poor luck but also poor outings McCarthy has had this season.
Game 2, Tuesday 6:40 PT: RHP Kyle Lohse (7-2, 3.00 ERA, 3.53 FIP) vs. LHP Wade Miley (3-6, 4.71 ERA, 4.45 FIP)
It has been a mixed bag of late for Lohse: he as either been really good or really bad in his last three starts. He threw a complete three-hit shutout against the Cubs on June 1st, followed by giving up eight runs in five innings in picking up a loss against the Pirates. He was stellar in his last outing, giving up just an unearned run on four hits over eight innings in a no decision against the Mets. Miley has fallen victim to the home run in many of his outings this season, giving up an astounding 16 of them this season. He gave up two of them in his last start, giving up four runs in five innings against Houston in his last start. Miley's last win came on May 10th.
Game 3, Wednesday 6:40 PT: RHP Matt Garza (4-4, 4.17 ERA, 3.76 FIP) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (5-1, 3.21 ERA, 4.93 FIP)
Garza's struggles came in throwing to bases instead of home plate in his last start, resulting in four unearned runs, needing an offensive surge to get off the hook. Anderson had his streak of five wins to open his major league career snapped in his last start against Los Angeles, giving up two runs on four hits in five innings in picking up the loss. He has gone at least five innings in each start of his major league career.
Game 4, Thursday 12:40 PT: RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 3.51 ERA, 4.27 FIP) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (4-4, 4.05 ERA, 4.30 FIP)
Gallardo has pitched extremely well of late, giving up just a run and striking out 16 batters over his last 14 innings. In his last start, he gave up a run over seven innings on six hits in a no decision against the Reds. Collmenter has taken the loss his last two outings, the last one coming off of giving up six runs on eight hits over six innings against the Dodgers. Collmenter is 3-2 with a 3.61 ERA at home this season.
I think Arizona can take one of three at home in this series. Milwaukee's lineup will just devastate the likes of McCarthy, and while I feel that Miley, Anderson, and Collmenter are capable of putting together solid outings, each are overmatched. I think the best odds at a win might be with Anderson on the mound against Garza, who has been good but not great this season, especially on the road (1-2, 6.21 ERA). Even then, I'm not sure there's anyone in this rotation that can limit this lineup, especially with how star outfielder Carlos Gomez has tore it up on the road (.353/.375/.612 with seven home runs, 21 RBIs).