Preview: Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t have quite enough to win any of their three games against baseball’s top team. They’ll try for better results versus the majors’ worst as they visit the slumping Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
Arizona (21-25) had won six of seven before getting swept in St. Louis this week, though two of those defeats came in the Cardinals’ final at-bat. Brad Ziegler gave up Jason Heyward’s tying home run in the ninth inning Wednesday and catcher Jordan Pacheco’s throwing error allowed the final run to score in the 4-3 defeat.
"We definitely know we can play with one of the best teams in the league, for sure," Ziegler told MLB’s official website. "We were right there every game. I think it shows some areas where we can grow as a team, try to win some of those close games instead of losing them. We were real close."
The Diamondbacks will try to apply those lessons against Milwaukee (16-32), which owns the worst record in baseball after losing five in a row. The Brewers have been held to 11 runs during that skid while batting .193.
They’ve also dropped five straight at Miller Park, hitting .181 with 12 runs, after a 3-1 loss to San Francisco on Wednesday.
Adam Lind scored the lone run and singled for his only hit in his last 17 at-bats. Ryan Braun is 3 for 16 during the overall five-game skid, Carlos Gomez is 1 for 15 in his last four and Martin Maldonado is hitless in his last 18 at-bats at home.
"It is not like we aren’t trying. We’re trying," Gomez said. "Friday is another game, another series. We have to start from there and not think about the past."
Rubby De La Rosa (4-2, 4.27 ERA) will seek to add to those woes. He’s 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his past four starts. The right-hander had one poor inning Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, giving up four runs in the fifth, and allowed one hit in his five scoreless ones in a 9-6 loss.
De La Rosa will face the Brewers for the first time, and Jimmy Nelson (2-5, 3.67) will make his first start against Arizona.
Nelson didn’t get enough support in his attempt to win back-to-back starts Sunday, yielding two runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss in Atlanta. Five days earlier, he gave up one run in eight in an 8-1 win in Detroit.
Walks were an issue in both outings, however. The right-hander issued four against the Tigers before matching a career high with five versus the Braves, and one of those baserunners scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
Nelson has never faced any Diamondbacks hitter and likely won’t relish his first chance to see Paul Goldschmidt, who has often been at his best against Milwaukee. Goldschmidt, among the NL leaders with a .329 average, is hitting .386 in 19 career matchups – his best versus any NL opponent – and .459 with four homers in nine contests at Miller Park.
Lind is 4 for 11 with two home runs and a double in five games against Arizona. He’s 2 for 5 lifetime versus De La Rosa, and Gerardo Parra is the only other Brewers hitter to have faced him, hitting a homer in two at-bats.