Preview: Brewers at Diamondbacks
Trends will collide when the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game series beginning Friday.
At 24-8, the Diamondbacks have the best home record in the majors and are off to the best home start in the 20-year history of the franchise.
The Brewers are one of three NL teams with a winning road record (15-13) and are led by manager Craig Counsell, who has tasted plenty of success at Chase Field.
Counsell was the MVP in the D-backs’ NLCS victory over Atlanta in 2001, the prelude to their World Series victory over the Yankees. When Counsell played his final home game before retiring in 2011, his No. 4 was stenciled in center field.
If anyone is still surprised by the unexpected starts of Milwaukee (32-29) and Arizona (37-25), they have not been paying attention.
The D-backs lead the major leagues in runs and slugging percentage at home, and are tied with the Brewers for most home runs at home (52).
Chris Iannetta was the D-backs’ hero du jour Thursday, when he had a homer, two doubles and a career-high seven RBI in a 15-4 victory to conclude a series sweep over San Diego. He did it while hitting second in the lineup for the first time this season. Manager Torey Lovullo seems to be pushing all the right buttons.
“These are the days you play baseball for, the chance to contribute and you have fun while doing it,” Iannetta said. “I feel like a kid again.”
The hitting has been solid for both teams, but pitching has been the difference.
Arizona, which finished with a major-league-high 5.09 ERA last year, was third in the majors with a 3.60 ERA entering Thursday, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League.
The Brewers were not far behind — sixth in the majors with a 3.98 ERA. They have been paced recently by former D-back right-hander Chase Anderson, who will bring a streak of 21 2/3 scoreless innings into his start in the series finale Sunday.
“Three starts, no runs. That’s driving the bus,” Counsell said.
Milwaukee’s Zach Davies will oppose Randall Delgado in Friday’s series opener.
Davis is 6-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 12 starts and has improved as the season has gone along. Since giving up 18 runs in his first 19 2/3 innings, Davies is 6-2 with a 3.09 ERA in his last eight starts. He has made quality starts in three of his last four and is coming off his best start of the season, a 3-0 victory over the Dodgers in which he gave up three hits and struck out six in six innings.
Davies, a native of suburban Gilbert, Ariz., is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two career starts against the D-backs. He made a quality start in the first game of the teams’ four-game series in Milwaukee in late May, giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 3-0 loss to left-hander Robbie Ray.
Randall Delgado will make his fourth start of the season for the D-backs, and will remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future, manager Torey Lovullo said.
Delgado has a 1.80 ERA in his three starts since joining the rotation in place of right-hander Taijuan Walker (blister), giving up 14 hits with 15 strikeouts in 15 innings as he worked his pitch count from 61 to 92 to 93.
“I’m pretty happy to stay,” said Delgado, who has been used almost exclusively in relief since 2013. “I don’t know how long it is going to be. I’m just trying to do my job.”
Delgado is 1-1 with a save and a 3.24 ERA in 18 appearances. He made four starts in 2014 and one in 2015.