Brewers face Diamondbacks in matchup of surprise teams (Jun 10, 2017)
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks look to keep their home-field success going on Saturday when they host the Milwaukee Brewers in the second game of a three-game series.
Arizona (37-26) is 24-9 at home and had won nine in a row at Chase Field until Friday night's 8-6 loss to the Brewers.
But the Brewers are also on a good run of late. Milwaukee (33-29) remains in first place in the National League Central with wins in three of their last four games.
Both teams are most certainly surprises this season, for a variety of reasons.
"We've had a lot of different areas of the team contribute. That's been the key for us," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I guess maybe the experts can be wrong once in a while."
The Brewers are already without injured slugger Ryan Braun and third baseman Travis Shaw, who is away from the team due to a family emergency. On Friday, they may have lost second baseman Jonathan Villar for at least a little time, depending on the severity of the back spasms he dealt with after making a standout defensive play in the eighth inning that might have saved Friday's win.
An update on Villar, who needed X-rays after the game, is expected Saturday before the two teams play.
The Brewers have shown the ability to compensate for injuries and rally from tough losses.
"We've bounced back pretty regularly from these things," Counsell said. "We're going to bounce back. There's going to be more tough games, we know that, but they're resilient and that's not going to change."
Don't call their success a fluke, Counsell said. The Brewers are 7-3 in their last 10 road games and have started games well, with 60 first inning runs to lead the major leagues.
"They've had to answer that question enough that it's the way they are, for sure." he said. "Everybody's doing something to help us."
The Diamondbacks have homered in 13 straight games at home, the longest streak since April 18-May 18, 1998, which was also 13. Paul Goldschmidt has safely reached base in 36 straight games at Chase Field, one shy of Stephen Drew's record.
Goldschmidt is a career .394 hitter (54-for-137) with 15 doubles, eight home runs and 27 RBI against the Brewers.
Infielder Chris Owings has an RBI in five consecutive games, eight total.
Manager Torey Lovullo said a key to his team's success has been the open communication liens among the team and with its manager. His style is influenced by Indians manager Terry Francona.
"I want these guys to know that I care about them and love them, and I think when you combine a lot of those things together, it's very powerful and develops a lot of trust. And that's really what this is all about," Lovullo said.
Milwaukee right-hander Junior Guerra gets the start Saturday, which will be his fifth of the season. Guerra (1-0) is coming off a no-decision in a 7-2 loss to San Francisco on Monday, and the Brewers are 1-3 in his starts though Guerra has held opponents to a .205 batting average.
Guerra faced the Diamondbacks on May 26, his only career start against Arizona, and got a no-decision in what was a 4-2 10-inning Diamondbacks win. He was the Brewers' opening day starter but suffered a right calf strain that day, April 4, and was on the disabled list until May 25.
The Diamondbacks counter with right-hander Zack Godley, who is 1-1 with a 1.93 earned run average in three home starts this season. Godley has made the most of his chance in the starting rotation, as he has 2.39 ERA overall in six starts.
Godley is 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA in three career games against Milwaukee, two of those being starts. He shut out the Brewers for six innings on May 26 at Miller Park.