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D-backs 1, Brewers 5 - Busting Bullpens

Merrill Kelly was fantastic, but the bullpen was bad and the Brewers showed why they are a playoff team.

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

In a brief two-game series with the Rangers, the Diamondbacks did just about everything right on the field. 28 runs scored with just 6 allowed to breathe life into their playoff hopes. While not a true answer into that question, the D-backs will gain a better answer into whether to go for it or trade away pieces with this 4 game series against a playoff rival in Milwaukee.

Merrill Kelly has had a pretty decent rookie season all things considered. In fact, you’d have to be really content with his season thus far. A 3.93 ERA while averaging a shade under 6IP per start, it doesn’t get much better. Until you start looking deeper at some of his opponents WP and realizing he steps his game up against really good teams, with a 3.66 ERA across 8 games. That trend continued tonight, who was absolutely superb across 7 innings.

Kelly really only made one mistake all night, a leadoff triple to Mike Moustakas to lead off the 2nd inning on a meatball slider right down the middle. Known steroid cheater Ryan Bruan followed with a sac fly to right, deep enough to score Moustakas and give the Brewers a quick 1-0 lead.

Christian Walker started off the D-backs half of the 2nd with a walk, and stole second to get himself in scoring position. After an Adam Jones fly out, Jake Lamb singled sharply to center, giving Walker enough time to scamper home to tie the game at 1-1.

From then on it was a pitcher’s duel between Kelly and Davies, with both going 7IP and only allowing single runs. Kelly was superb, allowing a couple of leadoff singles in both the 4th and 7th innings, but working his way around them beautifully. At one point, he retired 9 straight Brewers batters in the middle third of the game and continues to be an excellent pickup by the Diamondbacks Front Office.

Unfortunately for Kelly, Zach Davies was just as good in limiting runs. The D-backs had chances all night, getting a runner on base every inning against Davies besides the 1st, but just could not do much of anything to string a rally together. It also didn’t help that Lorenzo Cain is an animal in centerfield, robbing 3 separate extra base hits from Escobar, M. Kelly and C. Kelly. Davies also was adept at getting double play balls to escape damage, erasing threats in the 4th and 6th as Jake Lamb and Adam Jones.

Once the starters left the game, it was a battle of the bullpens and the Brewers pounced. Yoan Lopez was a sharp contrast to Merrill Kelly, as he allowed a lead off ground rule double to Eric Thames. Keston Hiura singled on a softly hit ball up the middle, and Orlando Arcia singled to drive in Thames. The Brewers double stole and after Carson Kelly air-mailed the throw into left field, Huira scored with Arcia moving to 3rd. A sac fly followed and before you knew it, the Brewers were up 4-1.

The D-backs threatened in their half of the 8th, with runners on the corners and 1 out, but Walker grounded into a double play, their third of the game to erase all hope. And to add insult to injury, Braun* homered in the 9th to give us our final score of 5-1.

Source: FanGraphs

☆☆☆ - MERRILL KELLY (7IP, 1ER, 6K) +.331 WPA
☆☆ - Ketel Marte (2 for 4) +.035 WPA
☆ - T.J. McFarland (1.1IP, 1ER, 3K) +.000 WPA

The Diamondbacks will look to get their bats back on track against this same Brewers team tomorrow at Chase Field. Taylor Clarke returns from the disabled list to face old friend Jhoulys Chacin, who had a brief appearance as a D-back in 2015 and springboarded that into a resurgence as an MLB starter. After two very good seasons, his ERA is over 5 and is one of the reasons the Brewers are looking for starting pitching help this trade deadline. Stop by and show your support in person or online here at the AzSnakepit.