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Preview, #129: 8/23 @ Brewers

The first game in Milwaukee

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jarrod Dyson - RF Lorenzo Cain - CF
Ketel Marte - CF Yasmani Grandal - C
Eduardo Escobar - 2B Christian Yelich - RF
David Peralta - LF Keston Hiura - 2B
Christian Walker - 1B Mike Moustakas - 3B
Jake Lamb - 3B Ryan Braun - LF
Nick Ahmed - SS Eric Thames - 1B
Carson Kelly - C Orlando Arcia - SS
Merrill Kelly - RHP Jordan Lyles - RHP

It’s probably not too much of an exaggeration to say that the losers of this series can almost certainly kiss their post-season hopes goodbye. That’s particularly true for the Diamondbacks, who come in five back of the second wild-card with 34 games left to play. They probably need to go at least 22-12 to close that gap, and hope the teams ahead of them falter. But the Brewers, with home-field advantage and 312 behind the Cubs, don’t have a lot of room for error either. Neither team has been setting the world on fire of late: Milwaukee is just 4-6 over the last ten games, and Arizona are 5-5, neither exactly making the sort of push for contention needed in late August.

It’s quite impressive that the Brewers are still in the hunt, considering they have a run differential of -35. That’s closest to the San Diego Padres, who currently have a record of 59-67. That’s because they are basically the anti-Diamondbacks: great in one-run games (22-14), but sucking in blowouts (12-18 in games decided by 5+ runs). I’d have to check, but I’m not sure any team has made the post-season with a negative run differential since the insanity which was the 2007 Diamondbacks... And it looks like a nope. The 2012 Orioles got a wild-card slot at +7, and the 2016 Rangers won the AL West at +8. That’s the closest anyone has come. So the Brewers would have to beat that particular streak as well.

Speaking of streaks, Merrill Kelly has won back-to-back starts for the first time since early June. Admittedly, the first of these was a pretty ugly W in Colorado, allowing six earned runs over five innings. But given he hadn’t won over the previous nine starts, I’m sure he’d be happy to take whatever win he could get. The last victory, however, was solid, Kelly pitching five innings of one-run ball. Though admittedly the San Francisco Giants are not the toughest of opponents. The Brewers will likely be a sterner test, so we should get some idea of whether Kelly has managed to adjust to the adjustments made by major-league hitters, which saw his ERA balloon by more than a run from June 12 through August 12.