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Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Milwaukee Brewers

Zack Greinke returns to Miller Park with one of baseball’s most surprising teams

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When you follow a team, it’s easy to get caught up in what your team is doing. You might casually glance at other nightly scores from around the league, but maybe you don’t keep a close eye on the standings outside of your team’s division.

With that in mind, holy crap, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 29-19. And they’re only in second place because the Colorado Rockies are 31-17.

Sort of like the Brewers, the Diamondbacks have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball over the first two months of the season. Last year, they lost 93 games and were quite frankly one of the more boring teams in the league (to be fair, a lot of that had to do with injuries). This year, they boast a young and dangerous lineup.

It's all anchored by, of course, Paul Goldschmidt, who's on his way to another MVP-caliber season. He comes into this series hitting a Thamesian .324/.450/.594 with 11 home runs and 11 doubles. He's walked nearly as many times as he's struck out (35 to 38).

Plenty of teams are clearly pitching around Goldschmidt, who normally hits third. Jake Lamb is making those teams pay, hitting .287/.381/.587 with 13 home runs, 7 doubles, and a team-leading 40 RBI so far. Yasmany Tomas, the frequent #5 hitter, is no slouch either with an .823 OPS and 8 home runs.

A.J. Pollock (.299/.337/.455) and David Peralta (.317/.363/.476) also form a dangerous 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup ahead of those sluggers, although Pollock will miss this series with a groin strain. Even without him, this is a strong lineup top to bottom, on par with the Brewers'.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Robbie Ray vs. Zach Davies

Never trust a pitcher with two first names. Ray is coming off a strong 7.2 IP, 0 ER performance in his last start, but it was against the San Diego Padres. Before that, he had been scuffling a bit, pitching a total of just 9 innings while allowing 9 runs and 8 walks in two starts against the Tigers and Pirates. On the year, he's carrying some big strikeout numbers (11.0 K/9), but he's also walking a ton (4.9 BB/9), so many of his starts have been short.

Friday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Zack Godley vs. Junior Guerra


Aside from a great name, Godley has pitched well since replacing the injured Shelby Miller in the starting rotation. He's carrying a 2.45 ERA in 4 starts, but FIP (3.66) and BABIP (.224) say he's been a little lucky so far. Still, he's in the middle of a strong run, coming off of a 7 IP/3 ER start against San Diego and a 6.2 IP/1 hit (but 5 BB) outing against the Mets.

Saturday, 3:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Zack Greinke vs. Chase Anderson

Full disclosure, Zack Greinke is one of my favorite pitchers ever. I still occasionally wear the Greinke Brewers shirsey my parents got me for my birthday 5 or 6 years ago, not knowing like I did that he was his way out of town soon. But it's really nice to see Greinke -- now 33 -- turn things around after a rough first season in Arizona that saw him go from a 1.66 ERA to a 4.37 ERA, giving up 23 home runs and looking possibly done. Through 10 starts this year, he's posted a 2.82 ERA/3.18 FIP, is carrying a WHIP below 1 (0.970), and has struck out a league-leading 78 in 67 innings. Greinke pitching like the Greinke of old is a big reason why Arizona has been able to make such a big turnaround so far this season. It'll be good to see him back at Miller Park, and hopefully he'll surrender 2 or 3 home runs in his start there just for old time's sake.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Patrick Corbin vs. Jimmy Nelson

The second lefty the Brewers will see this series, Corbin has struggled to regain the form he had in his All-Star season of 2013. He was so bad last year (5.15 ERA, 87 ERA+) that he had to be moved to the bullpen, and while he's been okay this year (4.40 ERA, 106 ERA+), he's not fooling many batters. He's surrendered 66 hits in 57.1 innings, which translates into a 10.4 H/9. The difference between this year and last year has been his LOB rate -- he's stranding 73.9% of his baserunners in 2017, compared to just 64.8% a year ago.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs