The Diamondbacks are reeling after seeing their comfortable 4.5-game NL West lead shrink to 1.5 games after the Dodgers swept them in three games, including a 14-inning heart breaker Wednesday.
L.A., with rookie phenom Yasiel Puig and a resurgentg starting rotation, has been suggested as the new NL West favorite, so it’s up to the D-backs to bounce back and protect their ground.
The Milwaukee Brewers may be of some help. The Brewers have been dogged by injuries this season and sit in last place in the NL Central at 37-53. With such disappointing results from what was expected to be a resurgent contender, the Brewers could be bracing for a sell-off at the trade deadline, and the D-backs might be buying.
The D-backs have been linked to a number of Brewers pitchers, including tonight’s starter Yovani Gallardo and several relievers, but for now their focus is on beating up on a diminished Brewers team while the Dodgers have to play divisional challenger Colorado. Here’s a look at what to watch for in the series, which starts at 6:40 p.m Thursday on FOX Sports Arizona:
PITCHING MATCHUPS: Thursday — LHP Wade Miley (5-7, 4.06 ERA) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-8, 4.85). Friday — LHP Patrick Corbin (10-1, 2.40) vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (1-2, 2.12). Saturday — RHP Randall Delgado (1-3, 3.82) vs. Kyle Lohse (4-6, 3.43). Sunday — RHP Ian Kennedy (3-5, 5.31) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (6-9, 4.82).
WHO’S HOT FOR THE D-BACKS: Thursday starter Wade Miley has been on a roll his last seven starts after a rough stretch in May. Over the seven starts, Miley has five quality starts and a 2.66 ERA. … Amid a seven-game hitting streak, all-star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is batting .414 (12 for 29) with a home run and four doubles while extending his NL RBI lead to 76. … Friday starter and first time all-star Patrick Corbin has a 2.68 ERA over his last five starts. He’s gone 1-1 in that span and allowed three or fewer hits three times.
WHO’S NOT: In three starts since returning from a 10-game suspension June 29, Sunday starter Ian Kennedy is 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA. He has one quality start in that stretch but has walked an average of three batters per game. … Reliever Heath Bell blew his second consecutive save opportunity Wednesday night, giving him five on the season. … Over the past week, catcher Miguel Montero is batting .100 (2 for 20). He did hit a three-run home run Monday but has no other RBI or extra-base hits otherwise in that span. … Shortstop Didi Gregorius has not driven in a run or had an extra-base hit since June 27. Since then, he is hitting .185.
WHO’S HOT FOR THE BREWERS: Saturday starter Kyle Lohse has not allowed more than three runs in a game since June 4, a span of eight starts. Lohse owns a 2.37 ERA over that stretch while the Brewers have gone 6-2 in those starts. … Sunday starter Wily Peralta has thrown scoreless outings three of his last four times out, including a complete game shutout his last turn, the first complete game by a Brewers starter since April 5, 2011. Peralta owns a 1.03 ERA over those four starts. … Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is hitting just .250 over his last six games but has produced six RBI on six hits, including three home runs.
WHO’S NOT: Thursday starter Yovani Gallardo, subject of trade rumors, has not helped his market value in his last three starts, going 1-2 with a 10.38 ERA. He has lasted more than four innings in just one of those games. … All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez has hit a mini slump, going hitless in his last 16 at-bats. … First baseman Sean Halton hit his first career home run Wednesday but is just 8 for 35 (.229) with two RBI since making his major league debut June 27. NOTES, QUOTES, ODDS AND ENDS: The D-backs played their 14th extra inning game of the season Wednesday. That’s already the most extra innings games the team has played since 15 in 2009. … The D-backs loss Wednesday came after their league-leading 19th blown save, prompting manager Kirk Gibson to say changes are coming in the bullpen. … In addition to Gallardo, the D-backs have also been linked to rumors regarding Milwaukee relievers John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez and Jim Henderson. … Tom Gorzelanny is making his third start of the season in spot duty after holding the Mets to two runs (none eared) in six innings on Sunday. … Left fielder Ryan Braun returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after a stint on the disabled list with a thumb injury and rested Wednesday. He and right fielder Norichika Aoki (elbow) are expected back in the lineup Thursday.