Diamondbacks-Brewers: What you need to know about the Wild Card series | Phoenix New Times


Diamondbacks must bring the lumber to win Wild Card series

The D-backs start their first playoff run since 2017 with a best-of-three series in Milwaukee. They face an uphill battle.
Can Torey Lovullo, the longest tenured Diamondback manager in history, get this team past the Wild Card series?
Can Torey Lovullo, the longest tenured Diamondback manager in history, get this team past the Wild Card series? Kevin C. Cox \ Getty Images
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Beginning Tuesday night, October baseball is back for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Fresh off clinching their first postseason appearance since 2017, the D-backs set their sights on a formidable adversary: the National League Central Champion Milwaukee Brewers. The teams kick off a best-of-three series Tuesday in Milwaukee. It's a rematch of the 2011 National League Division Series that the Brewers won.

Ahead of the Diamondbacks' return to the postseason, let's dive into everything you need to know about what's hopefully the first step to a World Series run.

Brewers-Diamondbacks: Season series

The Brewers enter the series against Arizona as heavy favorites. Still, the Diamondbacks took four of six from Milwaukee during the regular season, including two of three games both at home and on the road, where the series will take place.

The teams last played on June 21, a game Arizona won 5-1.

Breaking down the Brewers

The 2023 Brewers have proven to be a team led by their pitching staff. Their starters for the Wild Card round — Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff — have been especially tough on hitters all season. They pose a stiff challenge for the Diamondbacks heading into the Wild Card series.

The stats alone tell the story of what the D-backs are up against. In 2023, Burnes posted a 10-8 record with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts. Peralta had a 12-10 record with a 3.86 ERA in 30 starts, and Woodruff, in limited action due to injury, finished with a 5-1 record and 2.28 ERA in 11 starts.

If the Diamondbacks manage to get the starters out of the game, the Brewers' bullpen is no pushover. The Brewers' relievers had the best ERA in the majors at 3.71. Devin Williams, the team's closer, has been nearly untouchable with 36 saves on a 1.53 ERA.

The Diamondbacks' offense must bring the lumber all series to upset the NL champs.

On the offensive side, the Brewers are less formidable but have plenty of firepower to cause a headache. In 2023, the Brewers finished with a combined batting average of .240, a .385 slugging percentage and a .705 OPS, all ranked near the bottom of the league. That said, they still roll out former MVP Christian Yelich and have been known to break out in any single game, putting up more than enough runs to support their dominant pitching.

The schedule

The Diamondbacks' journey through the postseason begins Tuesday against the Brewers at Milwaukee's American Family Field. As is the case for the MLB Wild Card rounds, all games will take place in the home park of the team with the higher seed, in this case, the Brewers.

Here's a look at the schedule:
  • Oct. 3: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 4:08 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Oct. 4: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 4:08 p.m. on ESPN2
  • Oct. 5: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 4:08 p.m. on ESPN2 (if necessary)

Diamondbacks potential lineup

The faces Diamondbacks' fans saw most of the season will be the same ones most prominently featured in the team's return to the postseason. They'll rely on a lineup featuring young talents and experienced contributors as they have all year.

Here's a look at their potential lineup:
  • Corbin Carroll, RF
  • Ketel Marte, 2B
  • Tommy Pham, DH
  • Christian Walker, 1B
  • Alek Thomas, CF
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
  • Gabriel Moreno, C
  • Jace Peterson, 3B
  • Geraldo Perdomo, SS
  • On the mound, the Diamondbacks will rely on starting pitchers Brandon Pfaadt and Zac Gallen.
  • The bullpen will be anchored by Paul Sewald, Kevin Ginkel, Andrew Saalfrank, Ryan Thompson, Miguel Castro and Kyle Nelson.

What the oddsmakers predict

The Brewers are heavy +200 favorites to eliminate Arizona from the postseason. But in a best-of-three series, you can bet that number will be turned on its head with a Diamondbacks victory in Game 1.
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