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Series Preview #24: Diamondbacks @ Brewers

Second series of the season against Milwaukee, but not the hot team any more when we faced them the first time.

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Second time we meet the Brewers.

Last time we met the Brewers this season they were 7-2 to start the season and at that moment one of the better teams in MLB.

My guess in that Series Preview was that the Brewers were just on a good streak with some great early performances from their rookies, dubbed the freshmen.

Based on those results and their good starting pitching, I thought the Brewers were the favourite for the series in Arizona, but that the Diamondbacks had a good chance to win it and that is how it went: Gallen propelled the Diamondbacks to a 1-0 lead, Corbin Burnes then shut out the D-Backs and the Brewers took game two only for the Answerbacks to take the final game with a rather easy 7-3 win behind a fine Kyle Nelson performance.

Now we are almost 60 games further in and things are a bit different when compared to April. The Brewers are still league leader, but in very sad NL Central where Milwaukee is a bit above .500 with the Reds (!) just behind, also slightly above .500. The Pirates have dropped back a bit, as could be expected, but they are still with options in that weak division, with the Cubs and Cardinals playing terrible.

Weak batting lineup.

Of that batting lineup that were on a good streak, according to our series preview in April, a lot of batters have lost their momentum:

  • Christian Yelich and William Contreras have pretty much maintained their batting line, with a .785 and .750 OPS.
  • First baseman Rowdy Tellez has improved from a .587 OPS to a .741 OPS.
  • Jesse Winker’s OPS dropped from .772 to .529, Willy Adames’ from .984 to .655, Garrett Mitchell from 1.048 to .772, Brian Anderson from 1.226 to .714, Brice Turang from .886 to .561 and Joey Wiemer from .869 to .702.

Recently they added former Rockie Raimel Tapia to their outfield mix, who got decent results as 4th outfielder in Boston, but was put on waivers not that long ago and picked up by the Brewers.

It is pretty clear: hitting rocketed the Brewers to a hot start but has also been their nemesis. Currently, the Brewers rank in the bottom 5 of the entire MLB batting wise. Milwaukee has a Pythagorean 33-37, so they will face an uphill battle in what remains of the season of trying to keep the other (struggling) teams in the NL Central behind them. Lucky for them, not one of them isn’t really good either.

Pitching is fine though.

What hasn’t changed for the Brewers is their fine rotation, although with the 60-day IL placement of Brandon Woodruff they are an ace short. Their 7 teams shutouts rank top of the league, but their combined pitching bWAR is surprisingly a -2.0.

Their starting rotation aces are currently Corbin Burnes and former Diamondback Wade Miley. They have been recently joined by Julio Teheran, who has popped up from nowhere and has been pitching to a surprisingly good 1.78 ERA over 5 starts. The peripherals say he could make for a good mid-rotation arm in Milwaukee this season.

In the bullpen Devin Williams has gotten good results in the closer position despite some shaky command from time to time. Other good results have come from former Diamondback Joel Payamps, Angels’ cast-off Elvis Peguero, while Bryse Wilson, Hoby Milner and Trevor Megill have been solid too. Peter Strzelecki on the outside might be the weaker member of that bullpen, but his peripherals look rather solid and his FIP is actually better than each one of the previous mentioned.

The Diamondbacks are the better team though and our rotation and bullpen can match theirs, so I will say we take the series because of the better batting lineup, but a sweep looks very hard to accomplish. Let’s see what the matchups are here.


Game #1 Mon 06/19 5:10 PM MST, Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs Corbin Burnes (MIL)

  • Merrill Kelly. 14 GS, 83.0 IP, 8 W-3 L, 3.04 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 1.11 WHIP, 2.62 K/BB.
  • Corbin Burnes. 14 GS, 83.2 IP, 5 W-4 L, 3.44 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 1.10 WHIP, 2.86 K/BB.

Burnes’ velocity on the fastballs is down from his 2022 All Star season. He is no longer Cy Young material this season so now you see he isn’t much better than Kelly if he is better at all. That is still a very good pitcher though, and we experienced it the last time he faced the Diamondbacks, when he shut the team out over 8 innings. He hasn’t reached those heights again this season and while in general he has been good, from time to time Burnes struggles in finding the strike zone, just a bit like Merrill.

Game #2 Tue 06/20 5:10 PM MST, Ryne Nelson (ARI) vs Colin Rea (MIL)

  • Ryne Nelson. 14 GS, 71.1 IP, 3 W-4 L, 5.30 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 1.54 WHIP, 1.77 K/BB.
  • Colin Rea. 11 GS, 57.1 IP, 3 W-4 L, 4.71 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 1.26 WHIP, 2.36 K/BB.

Former Padre Colin Rea has found a job this year in the Milwaukee rotation. He pitched in Japan last year and has been able to maintain his peripherals, but in general MLB hitters hit harder than the ones in the NPB, so Rea isn’t much of the success story so far. He is a soft-tosser and doesn’t get a lot of batters to chase his pitches so he really is a fringe back-of-the-rotation guy. He doesn’t go much further than 5 innings, so you’d say the Diamondbacks should go aggressive here in the first innings, the first pitch batting stat against Rea is .333/.333/.583.

You’d say, we’re up for a win here, but with Ryne Nelson we don’t really put the elite of our starting pitchers on the mound. Nelson allowed 5 runs over 4 innings in his latest outing against the Phillies, but had a solid performance against the Tigers before that, so maybe he can keep the damage limited and go 5 innings, putting himself and the D-Backs in line for a win.

Game #3 Wed 06/21 11:10 AM MST, Zac Gallen (ARI) vs Julio Teheran (MIL)

  • Zac Gallen. 15 GS, 91.1 IP, 8 W-2 L, 2.96 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 5.26 K/BB.
  • Julio Teheran. 5 GS, 30.1 IP, 2 W-2 L, 1.78 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 5.00 K/BB.

In what is just a short time span of 5 games and 30 innings, Julio Teheran is actually starting with numbers that were similar to when he earned an All Star nod in 2016. The average velocity on his pitches are just a tad below those of 2016 and he has showed excellent command thus far, so it could be that Teheran might be a strong member of that Milwaukee rotation the rest of the season.

With the Diamondbacks he will face yet another strong batting lineup. In the last 3 games Teheran faced the Pirates, Reds and Athletics, but he started his first two games against the Giants and Blue Jays, so he has seen competing teams.

It’s pretty exciting to see Teheran at these levels again, after struggling in the shortened 2020 season with the Angels, a handful of innings in Detroit in 2021 and pitching in Mexican league in 2022.

He will be a tough pitcher, but the Diamondbacks will go with their juggernaut, as Zac Gallen will be the one that starts for the Diamondbacks. Gallen bounced back against Cleveland after a less successful outing against the Tigers. It will be an interesting game to watch.


So, what do you say?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Diamondbacks win.
    (32 votes)
  • 17%
    Diamondbacks lose.
    (7 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now