Preview: Brewers at Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — The two best bullpens in the major leagues, statistically speaking, will meet in Chase Field when contenders Arizona and Milwaukee open a three-game series Monday.
Arizona relievers have an NL-leading 2.41 ERA and 13 saves while holding opponents to a .200 batting average.
Milwaukee relievers are right there, ranking second with a 2.67 ERA while also recording 13 saves, although they have made it a little more exciting with eight failed save conversions. Opponents are hitting .212.
The two bullpens also have been among the busiest.
Milwaukee’s relievers have thrown 158 1/3 innings, third in the NL, and setup man/part-time closer Jeremy Jeffress is among the league leaders with 22 appearances. Josh Hader has been spectacular in moving into the closer’s role in the absence of injury Corey Knebel.
New Arizona closer Brad Boxberger is tied for second in the league with 11 saves, and he is one of six Arizona relievers with at least 18 appearances.
“The bullpen has been critical to our success and will continue to be,” Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said earlier in the season.
Milwaukee has won eight of its last 12, including an 11-10, 10-inning victory at Colorado on Friday in which the Brewers overcome a 9-3 deficit. Hader and Jeffress have three saves apiece in the current stretch, and nominal closer Knebel has just returned after missing almost five weeks with a hamstring injury.
“Our model for our bullpen this year is a little different from the conventional model,” Brewers general manager David Stearns told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re not going to have as many appearances as some other teams. We are asking our pitchers to go a little bit longer.”
The Brewers took three of four from Colorado when rookie right-hander Freddy Peralta struck out 13 in 5 2/3 innings of his major league debut in a 7-3 victory Sunday. Peralta utilized a low-90 mph fastball that he was not afraid to throw up in the zone.
Arizona has lost five in a row for first time this season after being swept by Washington over the weekend. The Diamondbacks have lost eight of 11.
Diamondbacks’ setup man Archie Bradley suffered his first loss of the season when he gave up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Nationals on Sunday. He entered with a 1.29 ERA in 20 appearances.
“As good as we have been out of the bullpen, it kind of startles you especially where it is Archie who has been throwing the ball extremely well,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.
Corbin, who has a 2.12 ERA, has had his most success at home this season. He is 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five Chase Field starts, with 44 strikeouts and six walks. He gave up one hit in 7 1/3 innings of a victory against the Dodgers on April 4 and gave up only a check-swing single in his first career shutout in a 1-0 victory over San Francisco on April 17.
Guerra has lost his last three starts, having given up 10 runs in 16 innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in two career starts against Arizona, both coming in 2017. He gave up three runs in six innings while taking a 3-2 loss in his appearance at Chase Field.