MLB

Fri, May 25, 2012 - 9:40 PM ET
 

Brewers-Diamondbacks Preview

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The last time the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers met, one game separated both teams from the NL championship series.

Neither team is playing as if a postseason rematch is in the offing.

In a matchup of the Game 1 and 5 starters from the NL division series, Arizona's Ian Kennedy tries to avoid losing a career-high fifth consecutive start while Yovani Gallardo looks to remain unbeaten against the Diamondbacks on Friday night.

After rallying from two games down to tie the NLDS, Arizona lost 3-2 in 10 innings as Nyjer Morgan's RBI single gave the Brewers their first playoff series victory since 1982 and prevented the Diamondbacks from their first since 2007.

Milwaukee's franchise-record 96 wins and Arizona's worst-to-first turnaround in the NL West from 2010 were great stories last season, but it's been a different story for both in 2012. The Brewers (18-26) have lost eight of 11 and are only ahead of the NL-worst Chicago Cubs in the Central, while the Diamondbacks (20-25) have dropped 12 of 18 to fall 10 1/2 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kennedy's struggles following an outstanding 2011 mirror the fall Arizona has experienced. Fourth in the NL Cy Young voting last year after winning a career-best 21 games, the right-hander has a 5.92 ERA during his personal four-game skid.

Kennedy (3-4, 4.47 ERA) was 16-1 with a 2.53 ERA in his previous 20 starts.

"Every time I fail, succeed, anything, I try to learn from it, make myself a little better the next time," he told the Diamondbacks' official website Saturday after allowing a season high-tying six runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-3 loss at Kansas City.

Kennedy threw seven strong innings in his last regular-season start against the Brewers - a 4-0 home win July 21 - but was 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in two NLDS starts, both at Milwaukee. However, he only received a combined one run of support in those outings, the same number he's received in four starts this month.

Gallardo (2-4, 4.62) opposed Kennedy both times in the NLDS, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA, and he's 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA lifetime versus Arizona. The only time he hasn't won a start when facing the Diamondbacks was Game 5 when he tossed six innings of one-run ball.

Gallardo has put together four straight quality starts but is only 1-2 in that span. He's lost his last three on the road but is facing a Diamondbacks team that's dropped 14 of 18 at Chase Field.

Milwaukee, meanwhile, has lost 13 of 17 as the road team.

Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, batting .382 on the road, is among the major league leaders in May with 30 hits and 21 RBIs.

Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero (groin strain) should return Friday after missing two games, while Chris Young is expected to be in center field after getting a day off Wednesday - his first since a stint on the disabled list (shoulder contusion) ended last week. Young is batting .322 despite going 1 for 12 with five strikeouts in his past three games.

Infielder Cody Ransom could make his Brewers debut Friday after Arizona designated him for assignment Monday.

"We didn't want to lose him, but we wish him well," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We just wish him not too well against us."

Including the playoffs, Ryan Braun batted .467 with three homers and eight RBIs off Arizona pitching in 2011. He's hit .423 with two homers and 10 RBIs in his last six games.

Tagged: Brewers, Diamondbacks, Chris Young, Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy

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