The next few games will play a major role in the DBacks’ future, as the organization will have to decide whether or not to be buyers or sellers at the July 31 trade deadline. Arizona trails the L.A. Dodgers by 14 games in the National League West standings, but they are very much alive in a heated NL Wild Card race. Milwaukee currently holds down the final postseason slot in the National League, but three teams, including the DBacks, are within a half-game and seven teams are within four games of the Brewers heading into the weekend. Can Arizona take control of its destiny with a successful series versus the Brewers on Friday night?
Yelich back in MVP race after latest HR tirade
Brewers’ slugger Christian Yelich has come out of the All-Star Break on fire, hitting .360 with three home runs in 25 at-bats since the Midsummer Classic. He’s homered in three of his last four games, including his previous two contests versus the Atlanta Braves, to help Milwaukee climb back into the final Wild Card spot in the NL. The 27-year-old is now neck-and-neck within the NL MVP race with Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger. Yelich is hitting .331 with 34 home runs, 73 RBIs, 23 steals and a whopping 1.145 OPS in 88 games this season.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 17, 2019
Milwaukee is scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who has struggled to recapture the form he’s displayed over the previous two seasons. Chacin enters with a 3-9 overall record and a 5.18 ERA in 17 starts this season, but he’s shown signs of turning things around as of late. The 31-year-old has surrendered two runs or less in each of his last three starts and six of his last 10 outings overall, but still comes into the weekend riding a personal six-game losing streak. Last time out, Chacin gave up just two runs (one earned) in five frames, but ended up with a no-decision in an 8-3 defeat versus the San Francisco Giants. Run support has been an issue for Chacin as of late, as the Brewers are averaging just 2.2 runs per game over his last five starts.
The Brewers’ Opening Day starter is familiar with the DBacks after beginning his career in the NL West with the Colorado Rockies. He’s made five starts against them dating back to the 2016 season, going 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA during that span. Chacin is 6-4 with a 3.17 ERA in 19 career games (18 starts) versus the DBacks heading into Friday’s matchup.
Ray, Jones, and Peralta could all be on the move
Despite being in the thick of the NL Wild Card race, the Diamondbacks are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline, though they might not deal the player(s) that most people are expecting to switch teams. Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke has been among the players widely expected to be coveted by contending teams, but another DBacks’ starter is starting to gain steam on the trade market. Left-hander Robbie Ray has apparently caught the attention of the New York Yankees and the team is also reportedly shopping outfielders Adam Jones and David Peralta as well.
— Take Your Base Sports (@takeyourbasepod) March 28, 2019
Arizona is expected to send right-hander Taylor Clarke for his 10th start of the season on Friday. While not considered a top prospect in the DBacks’ system, Clarke proved he could hang at the Triple-A level, posting a 13-8 record and a 4.03 ERA in 27 Triple-A starts in 2018, but he struggled to start 2019, going 3-1 with a 7.22 ERA in seven starts prior to his promotion to the big leagues. The 26-year-old is just 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) and he will be taking the mound for the first time since landing on the 10-day DL on July 3. Clarke won his last decision against the Dodgers on June 26 and has surrendered three earned runs or less in seven of his 10 appearances this season.
- Brewers are 1-7 in their last 8 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Brewers are 0-5 in their last 5 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Brewers are 1-4 in Chacin’s last 5 starts with 4 days of rest.
- Brewers are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.