National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, July 21st
(All times eastern)
Milwaukee Brewers (53-46) at Arizona Diamondbacks (52-46), 9:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.04)
Arizona - Ian Kennedy (10-3, 3.39)
(Sports Network) - Injuries are a part of sports and baseball gets its fair
share over a 162-game schedule. The Milwaukee Brewers are learning that lately
with gimpy All-Star Ryan Braun and now Carlos Gomez, who is expected to land
on the disabled list today with a fractured left clavicle.
The show will go on for the Brewers in Thursday's finale of a four-game series
against the Arizona Diamondbacks as the current National League Central
leaders target their third straight win and fifth in six tries. Gomez made a
diving catch to end the fourth inning of last night's 5-2 win in 10 innings
and is out indefinitely. The center fielder went 0-for-2 on the night and is
batting .220 with six homers and 19 RBI.
Braun shared his thoughts on losing his fellow outfielder.
"People don't realize how valuable he is," said Braun, who mentioned he heard
Gomez's bone crack from left field. "He's probably our best defensive player
and one of the best defensive players in baseball. The guy is unbelievable in
center field. He's hit lefties well all year. It's really valuable to have a
guy that can come off the bench and be a great defender and run the bases.
"And he's a lot of fun to be around every day. He has a lot of energy. I feel
horrible for him. ... You can't replace somebody like that."
Nyjer Morgan took over in center field and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run
scored, while Braun homered for a second straight night, ending with three
hits and two runs batted in. Braun missed the final eight games before the
All-Star break with a left calf strain and did not play in Monday's 3-0 loss
in the series opener. He was also dealing with a hamstring issue and exited
Tuesday's 11-3 win in the fifth inning as a precautionary measure.
Morgan, Braun and Rickie Weeks all recorded RBI singles during a three-run top
of the 10th inning to lead the Brewers to their eighth win in 12 tries. Prince
Fielder went 0-for-4 and starter Chris Narveson tossed seven shutout innings
in the no-decision. Takashi Saito threw a scoreless ninth for the win and John
Axford nailed down his 26th save in the 10th. Milwaukee is just a half-game
ahead of Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead and 4-3 on an 11-game road trip.
The Brewers will visit San Francisco for three games over the weekend and are
scheduled to send Zack Greinke to the mound tonight. Greinke hasn't posted a
decision in his last three starts, going six innings in each, and previously
took the hill in Saturday's 8-7 win at Colorado. The righty allowed three
unearned runs and five hits in six innings with eight strikeouts. Greinke is
7-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 14 total starts and 2-3 in seven road assignments.
Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner with Kansas City, is 0-1 with a
7.50 earned run average in three career starts against Arizona.
Arizona lost a player of its own when shortstop Stephen Drew fractured his
right ankle on a play at the plate in the fourth inning. Drew was trying to
score from second base on Chris Young's hit to left field when he slid feet-
first across the plate and came in contact with catcher Jonathan Lucroy's
shins. He then writhed in pain on the ground before being helped off the
field. Drew will miss the remainder of the season.
"It's disappointing. We know how important Stephen is," Arizona manager Kirk
Gibson said. "But if you've been around the game for a while, it's fairly
common that you're going to lose star players. You hope it doesn't happen to
Willie Bloomquist moved to shortstop when Drew was lost and drove in both of
Arizona's runs. Justin Upton and Kelly Johnson both finished with two hits for
the Diamondbacks, who have dropped two straight since a three-game and lost
for the fifth time in eight contests.
Joe Saunders did not figure into the decision and allowed two runs in seven
innings for the D'Backs. Ryan Cook was saddled with the loss for his role in
allowing Milwaukee's three runs in the 10th.
"It was a tough night overall," Saunders said. "We lost the game and we lost
our starting shortstop. We're going to have to regroup, bounce back and put it
behind us as best we can. We shouldn't have lost that game. These games are
tough. You look back on these games you should have won in late September, and
we should have won that game."
The Diamondbacks are 3-3 on a 10-game homestand and will head to Colorado for
three games over the weekend. They are also 4 1/2 games behind San Francisco
for the National League West lead.
Ian Kennedy will try to pitch Arizona to a series split when he toes the
rubber tonight in search of his third consecutive win. Kennedy has prevailed
in back-to-back starts and is 4-1 in his previous five decisions. He lasted
seven innings in Saturday's 3-2 win over Los Angeles and held the rival
Dodgers to a pair of runs with seven strikeouts. Kennedy is 10-3 with a 3.39
ERA in 20 starts this season.
Kennedy, a right-hander, is 4-2 in 11 outings at Chase Field, but is winless
(0-1) in two career starts against Milwaukee.
Arizona won two of three meetings with Milwaukee earlier this month at Miller
Park, but the Brewers have won 12 of the past 20 contests in this series.
07/21 10:52:58 ET
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