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Series Preview: Diamondbacks @ Brewers

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Yippie skippie, the D-Backs head to Milwaukee for 4 games.

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
What a guy
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks (41-57) @ Milwaukee Brewers (41-55)

The Diamondbacks are 5-17 in their last 22 games. 11 of these games were lost by 4 or more runs. Their greatest margin of victory was a 7-5 win against the Padres, the team they are currently trailing 1.5 games for 4th place in the West. The D-Backs will need to win 2 out of every 3 games the rest of the year to just finish above .500. What a season. But enough with the doom and gloom!

State of the Brewers

The Brewers are 2-7 since the all-star break, so things aren’t going a whole lot better for them. Milwaukee is 4th-to-last in the NL for runs per game (3.97) and 6th-to-last in runs allowed per game (4.67). Leading them on offense is everyone’s favorite player, Ryan Braun (135 OPS+), and catcher Jonathan Lucroy (13 homers, .302 batting average). A couple other names should ring a bell for one reason or another: second baseman Scooter Gennett (how would you forget a name like that) and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenheis (career .200 hitter with no power who hit 3 homers in a game against the D-Backs last year). We would see old friend Aaron Hill this series, had he not been traded to Boston a couple weeks ago.

Good Not-As-Bad News
  • Goldy has absolutely raked at Miller Park, to the point where Wikipedia said he owned the stadium. In 11 games, he has 7 homers and an OPS of 1.659. Not too shabby.
  • Jean Segura and Michael Bourn are both hitting over .300 in their last 8 games. This is as close to good news as I could get, other than the Goldy thing.
Bad News
  • Everyone, other than Jake Lamb and the two players named above, is hitting under .225 in the last 8 games.
  • D-Backs relievers have been getting lit up, with a 5.40 ERA since the all-star break.
Injury Report

Pitchers Rubby de la Rosa and Zack Greinke are making steady progress in their recovery, but will not be back in time to pitch in this series. Outfielder David Peralta may be back this week, after a rehab stint in the Rookie League and AAA. Nick Ahmed just landed on the DL on Saturday with some hip problems.

The Brewers have no notable injuries to report on.

Probable Pitchers

Game 1: Braden Shipley RHP (AAA stats: 8-5, 3.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs Chase Anderson RHP (4-10, 5.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)

If you’re struggling to find a reason to watch a Monday battle of awful teams, here ya go. Shipley, the top rated prospect in the D-Backs farm system, makes his MLB debut in this game. He features a 4 seam fastball, straight change, and sharp curveball. Hopefully he makes a similar debut to fellow former top prospect, Archie Bradley, who threw a scoreless six innings against the Dodgers in his debut.

Finally, a trade which worked out in the D-Backs favor. Anderson has been absolutely terrible as of late, his last start of more than 4.1 innings coming in mid June. He’s had plenty of problems this year, but one that stands out is how he has pitched against righties this season. He has shut lefties down, but right handed batters have a triple slash of .328/.394/.640. Even though it’s Shipley’s debut, I still give a slight advantage to the D-Backs.

Game 2: Patrick Corbin LHP (4-9, 5.23 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) vs Matt Garza RHP (1-4, 5.94 ERA, 1.76 WHIP)

In his last 5 starts, Corbin has walked 6.38 batters per 9, allowed 3 homers per 9, and has an ERA of 7.50. Not exactly trending upwards.

Between this season and last season, Matt Garza will have made about 25 million dollars. His ERA between the two seasons is 5.69. That’s about all you need to know. Expect a slugfest in this game.

Game 3: Archie Bradley RHP (3-6, 4.44 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) vs Jimmy Nelson RHP (6-8, 3.40 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)

You know by now how I feel about Archie: so much potential if he could just get his walks down. His last outing in Cincinnati proved that. He allowed 3 runs, pitched 5 innings and walked the same number of batters. Giving the opposition a free baserunner every inning is generally not a path to success.

A second round pick from the 2010 draft, Jimmy Nelson has developed into a solid middle of the rotation starter. Looking at his peripherals, it’s a bit surprising his ERA isn’t higher than it is: he’s striking out just 6 and a half batters per 9, while walking 4. He faced the D-Backs twice last season, pitching a total of 13 innings and allowing 4 runs. Not bad. Advantage Brewers.

Game 4: Robbie Ray LHP (5-9, 4.53 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) vs Zach Davies RHP (7-4, 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

There are three things you always count on in a Robbie Ray start: a lot of strikeouts, a lot of foul balls, and not a whole lot of innings. This will be the first time he faces the Brewers in his career, and I’d expect a 5-6 inning, 4 run performance.

My first thought when seeing Zach Davies starting Thursday was, who is Zach Davies??? This is his first full season in the majors, and has achieved moderate success thus far. He’s on a nice little run right now, with a 1.35 ERA in his last 3 starts. He doesn’t have anything overwhelming, with an average fastball velocity of 89 MPH. He relies more on command, and a variety of offspeed pitches. Advantage Brewers.

Keys to the Series

Just give me some watchable baseball- that is my only request.

Prediction

The D-Backs ride an amazing series from Goldy to a series split.