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Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Milwaukee Brewers

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The Brewers hope to gain momentum in the playoff race against a team hanging around .500

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

It was a weird trade deadline this year for a lot of reasons, but the Arizona Diamondbacks might’ve had one of the weirdest deadlines.

They kinda-sorta sold, trading Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros. But that trade may have been as much about getting out from Greinke’s contract as anything, as they also traded for one of the few starting pitchers who got moved at the deadline in Mike Leake. After a month of rumors, they didn’t trade Robbie Ray, and then went out and traded one of their best prospects in Jazz Chisholm to Miami for Zac Gallen, who had only made 7 starts for the Marlins after debuting.

After that deadline day, the Diamondbacks now find themselves roughly exactly where they were before it. They’ve gone 10-9 in August and enter the weekend right at .500, which puts them 20.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West (but still in second place!) and on the outer fringes of the NL Wildcard race, 5 games behind St. Louis.

They’ve been perfectly average for much of the year, which probably could’ve been expected when they traded Paul Goldschmidt for MLB-ready players instead of highly-hyped prospects. There’s a bit of a Herb Kohl-era Bucks vibe with this organization right now, as they try to build for a run in the future while also trying to put together a .500 or better season.

As we saw in mid-July, the Arizona offense is plenty capable, with six regulars with an OPS over .800 and ranking 9th in all of baseball in runs scored. Their pitching has been more middle of the road, with a team ERA of 4.42 ranking 13th in the majors (the Brewers are now 21st at 4.75).

Probable Pitchers

Friday, August 23rd - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Merrill Kelly vs. Jordan Lyles

Kelly held the Brewers to one run over 7 innings the last time these teams faced eachother in July. He’s struggled a bit since then, though, allowing 23 earned runs in 19.1 innings over his next four starts after that outing before holding the Giants to just 1 run on 6 hits over 5.2 innings in his most recent start.

Satuday, August 24th - 6:10 p.m. CDT
Zac Gallen vs. Chase Anderson

This will be Gallen’s fourth start with the Diamondbacks after the trade deadline, having allowing just 3 runs over 15 innings in his first three starts. He’s struck out 17 batters in that time but has also walked 10, which is inflated a bit after walking 6 Rockies over 6 innings in his last start. He ended up escaping that outing allowing only one earned run.

Sunday, August 25th - 1:10 p.m. CDT
TBD vs. Zach Davies

This will likely be Robbie Ray starting for Arizona. Ray is currently on the injured list but threw a bullpen session without any issues this week and is eligible to be activated on Sunday.

Previous Series

The Brewers started to truly break out of their June-into-July early summer slump the last time they played the Diamondbacks, using the favorable hitting conditions in the desert to break out the bats while taking 3 out of 4 games in Phoenix.

The Brewers scored 5 runs or more in every game of that series, including the lone loss, a 10-7 slugfust that may have ended up looking closer than it really was after Jhoulys Chacin gave up 7 runs (6 earned) in 2.1 innings. Chacin would only make one more appearance after that start before going on the Injured List and hasn’t returned since.

The series was largely won against the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, as the Brewers won the first game of the series 5-1 after scoring 4 runs in the 8th inning or later, the third game 8-3 after scoring 6 runs in the 8th inning or later, and the series finale 7-4 after scoring 3 runs in the 8th inning.

Player to Watch

Ketel Marte has continued his incredible (but possibly juiced-ball-in-the-desert-aided) season by hitting .348/.434/.621 in August. The home run pace has slowed a bit -- he’s hit 4 this month after only hitting 3 in July, following months of 6, 7, and 7 homers -- but he still leads the National League in hits and is carrying a .955 OPS into this series -- almost 200 points higher than his career high of .768 he set last year.

Marte went 8-for-16 with a triple and 3 doubles against the Brewers during last month’s series in Arizona, driving in 2 runs while also walking twice and stealing a base.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference