Home sweet home. After our six game road trip, the Milwaukee Brewers (34-41) find themselves back at home, only to go up against an Arizona Diamonbacks (38-37) team that is hungry for some wins. Currently, the Brewers sit in the unenviable place of 4th in the NL Central and must start playing harder if they want that extra playoff spot. The Diamondbacks on the other hand currently sit in the 3rd in the NL West. The West has been hard fought between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, but the Diamondbacks show no signs of backing down. Last time these two teams faced each other, the Diamondbacks took two out of three in a series at Chase Field.
To help me preview this series, I asked staff writer Tyler Roberts of Venom Strikes to help me out here. Venom Strikes is FanSided’s Arizona Diamondbacks’ fan blog so be sure to check them out! Tyler wrote his own preview of the series so make sure you read that as well.
RtB: First off, it has to be tough going through the struggles of this year looking at how you guys got to the playoffs last year. What’s going on?
VS: One of the things that has hurt the Diamondbacks is the lack of consistency overall. It seems when our pitching staff does well the offense struggles and vice versa. Injuries have really hurt the Diamondbacks throughout the season, with Justin Upton, Chris Young, Joe Saunders, and Daniel Hudson all having stints on the DL. Hudson is now out indefinitely and it looks like he will need Tommy John surgery. Every time we get the team healthy, someone else gets hurt. Despite all the injuries some good things are happening. Prospect Trevor Bauer made his highly anticipated MLB debut Thursday against the Braves and Stephen Drew was scheduled to see his first in-game action since his ugly injury last season. All in all we are lucky to be hovering within a couple games of first in the division.
RtB: Offensively, Jason Kubel is becoming a monster. How has he impacted the games overall?
VS: With Chris Young struggling at the plate Kubel has become that other offensive weapon to Justin Upton and has allowed some pressure to be taken off him at the plate. The Kubel signing was one I actually questioned going into the year making for a crowded outfield, but it has turned out to be on of the better signings the Diamondbacks had in the offseason. He has provided the spark offensively we were hoping to get from Chris Young this year and provided it on a much more consistent basis than Young.
RtB: What happened to Ian Kennedy? He was thought to be a Cy Young contender last year, but has struggled in 2012. Any reason for this?
VS: The secret to Ian Kennedy’s success last year was his pinpoint accuracy with his pitches, pinpoint accuracy which he seems to be lacking this year. I can’t say exactly what is going on with him, but he is simply not the same. He has not had the same command as last year and has really struggled to get batters out in the early stages of innings, allowing the first couple batters on before recording outs. He is also leaving a lot of balls up in the zone and is not inducing ground balls at anywhere close to the same rate he was last year.
RtB: The emergence of Wade Miley has been extremely impressive, especially being a rookie. What do you expect of him going forward?
VS: Wade Miley has been a pleasant surprise and the most consistent pitcher in the Arizona rotation. I wrote an article after he came on in long relief of Josh Collmenter saying he would be really good, but no one had a clue as to how good he has been. If he were pitching anywhere but Arizona, people would be talking about him in the Rookie of the Year race with Bryce Harper, he has been that good. Not only has he been dominant on the hill, but is doing his part at the plate as well. He is hitting .357 with a .379 on base percentage and a .429 slugging percentage. I don’t expect him to continue hitting so well, but watch for him to keep doing well on the bump, this kid is the real deal.
RtB: Last but not least, how many tattoos does Ryan Roberts have?
VS: Well, he said himself in a report on Yahoo Sports last season that he lost count after 30 I would have no idea. Just the fact that his nickname is “Tatman” ought to be enough for anyone to get the picture.
I would like to give a thank you to Tyler Roberts of Venom Strikes for taking the time to help out with the preview. Good luck to the Diamondbacks, but as always, go Brew Crew!