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Series Preview #32: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers

The fight for the Wild Card comes to Phoenix

MLB: SEP 05 Cubs at Brewers Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers come to Phoenix this weekend for one of the most important series of the season. Both teams are coming off of significant series wins. The Brewers just took two out of three against the Atlanta Braves, and the Diamondbacks, of course, just swept the Rangers in a two game set in commanding fashion.

Coming into this series, the Brewers have a tenuous, half game lead over the Diamondbacks and Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. Because of that, this series promises to have a huge effect on the standings when it’s all said and done.

Game 1: Merrill Kelly (7-9, 3.93 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) vs. Zach Davies (7-2, 2.89 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Kelly had a bit of a bump in the road of his otherwise successful rookie season last time out. He gave up four runs in five innings, however, only one of those runs was earned, the rest coming from the Diamondbacks defense having a rare bad day. Look to see more of what we’ve seen all season from him so far, solid outings that keep the Dbacks in contention to win.

Davies has only given up one earned run in his last three starts, stretching over 16 and 13 innings, however in only one of those starts has he completed the sixth inning. He’s been solid all season long, so expect him to continue that and give Kelly some stiff competition.

Game 2: Taylor Clarke (2-3, 6.21 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (3-9, 5.81 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

Clarke will be making his first start since July 2, coming back from a stint on the DL. He’s had a rough go of it this season, not really ever being able to find a groove for an extended period of time, hence the 6.21 ERA.

Chacin also has had a rough season, but the past few starts have been looking better. In his last three starts, he had gone between five and six innings each time, and he hasn’t given up more than two runs in any of those three starts. It will boil down to which version of Chacin shows up, the good version that has been there the past three starts, or the not so great version that the Brewers have been seeing most of the season.

Game 3: Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.95 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) vs. Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.19, 1.19 WHIP)

Greinke had his first start after the All Star Break delayed so he could pitch in this game. In retrospect, that might have been a mistake, seeing as how he just didn’t have it on the long rest. No need to worry. Greinke is amazing and should bounce back just fine in this start

Gonzalez has not pitched since May 27 and has spent the rest of the time on the IL, recovering from shoulder inflammation. He’s been pretty good this season, but that’s a lot of rust, and his last rehab start was only for 60-some odd pitches, so don’t expect him to hang out very long in this game.

Game 4: TBD vs. Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.53 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

This was Alex Young’s spot in the rotation, but both MLB.com and ESPN have it listed as TBD, making me wonder if Young isn’t going to be the one sent down to make room for Clarke. I looked but I didn’t see any announcement’s yet, so who knows. Be on the lookout for an announcement as to who is pitching this game.

Woodruff has been a strong piece for the Brewers this season. He’s on a bit of a tear right now, riding a streak of three games where he has only given up one run and gone at least six innings. Whoever ends up facing him for the Diamondbacks is going to have their hands full.

Conclusion

This is an incredibly important series for both teams. I expect both teams to bring their best stuff to each and every game, and for them to be hard fought battles until the last out. In the end, however, I don’t see this series doing a whole lot to make the Wild Card situation any clearer. I think the two teams will split the series and the Wild Card will be decided much, much later in the season.