Arizona Diamondbacks (21-25)
@ Milwaukee Brewers(16-32)
Dare I say that in the last two weeks the Diamondbacks are playing well? They are! Their five game winning streak impressed me! Is another series sweep possible? But do I remember what happened when I recently predicted a sweep in an away series? Though the Brewers have the worst win-loss record in the majors, though the Brewers are riding a five game losing streak, the Brewers are playing adequately enough to prevent a sweep.
The Brewers rank last in the National League in hits, batting average, and on-base percentage. On the positive side, their two best hitters are: Ryan Braun with 12 HRs and 37 RBIs, and Adam Lind with 7 HR and 19 RBIs.
The Diamondbacks offense had a streak of 6 games with 4 or more runs, which was broken by the Cardinals. Currently, in 7 of the last 9 games Diamondbacks have scored 4 runs or more, with 2 and 3 runs in the other two games. Not Bad! Consistent scoring wins series and is fun to watch! The batting leaders are Paul Goldschmidt with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs, Mark Trumbo with 8 home runs and 22 RBIs, David Peralta with 4 home runs and 22 RBIs, and A.J. Pollock with 4 home runs and 16 RBIs .
In the last two weeks, the Deserved Run Average (DRA) improved for Chase Anderson, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jeremy Hellickson, and worsened for Archie Bradley and Josh Collmenter . Let’s look at their DRAs and ERAs.
|Rubby De La Rosa||3.59||4.27|
The pitching staffs are roughly equivalent, with Diamondbacks ranking 12th in the National League and Brewers ranking 14th. Let’s look at the pitching matchups.
Friday. Rubby De La Rosa(3.59 DRA, 4.27 ERA) vs Jimmy Nelson (3.45 DRA, 3.67 ERA).
Jimmy Nelson is the best Brewers pitcher. His best pitch is his slider, and his worst pitch is his curveball, which he rarely throws. This contrasts greatly with Rubby De La Rosa, who has a reputation as a flame thrower. His fastball has an average velocity of 93.5 mph. This matchup is even.
Saturday. Jeremy Hellickson (5.03 DRA, 5.33 ERA) vs Kyle Lohse(4.35 DRA, 5.53 ERA).
Kyle Lohse’s best pitch is his slider, and is worst pitch is his fastball (with velocity of 89.6 mph, and value of -7.9 from Fangraphs). Kyle Lohse is motivated because he will be a free agent next year. This contrasts with Jeremy Hellickson who is arbitration eligible next year, and is battling Collmenter to determine who is the worst regular starter for the Diamondbacks. Nevertheless, because Jeremy Hellickson has pitched better in May this matchup slightly favors the Diamondbacks.
Sunday. Chase Anderson (3.38 DRA, 2.59 ERA) vs Matt Garza (4.90 DRA, 6.00 ERA).
Unlike last year, every pitch that Mattt Garza throws has negative value according to Fangraphs. This contrasts with Chase Anderson, whose pitches all have a positive value except his curve. This game is advantage Diamondbacks because Chase Anderson has a much better DRA.
Recent Impact Players
Rubby De La Rosa pitched 9 innings and allowed only 2 earned runs, contributing greatly to the game that broke a 4 game losing streak and started a 5 game winning streak. In the 5 game winning streak, from 18 to 22 May, the Diamondbacks won 4 close games. Those who made 2 or more RBIs in one game were: Yasmany Tomas, Ender Inciarte, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nick Ahmed. Those with 1 RBI that was the go-ahead runs late in the game were David Peralta and A.J. Pollock. Relief pitchers who pitched 2 innings or more and allowed zero earned runs were Brad Ziegler, Daniel Hudson(twice), and Andrew Chafin. And special recognition goes to Paul Goldschmidt who had three RBIs in the 24 May game against the Cubs, which Diamondbacks won 4-3.
Based on wins so far, and projecting future games based on runs scored and allowed the Diamondbacks are on pace for 81 wins this season. That is consistent with my optimistic prediction of 78 wins this season.
In two weeks I will relook at this projection. Meanwhile, the upcoming series against the Brewers will be well worth watching, and I predict our Diamondbacks will win two games.
Food of the Series
In the year 1313, Bratwursts were eaten in Nuremburg, Franconia. Marjoram was the distinctive spice, and bratwursts were grilled. Although they were small by today’s standards, up to a dozen bratwursts were served on a pewter plate, resulting in a robust meal. In 1954 in Milwaukee, bratwurst was first served in the Majors. The bratwursts, which sold for 35 cents, were grilled and placed into a container of special tomato sauce. Jumping forward to today, I see application to the Diamondbacks. The special tomato sauce is Tony La Russa, Dave Stewart, and Chip Hale. Up to a dozen high-ceiling players are dipped in the special sauce, resulting in robust baseball that gets better every year. The food motto for this series is, "Bratwursts are better by the dozen!"