Game Four Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks Try to Send Series Back to Milwaukee
Thanks to a blowout win last night over the Brewers, the Diamondbacks season continues at least for one more day. Arizona will try to force a Game Five Friday in Milwaukee by trying to grab a win in tonight’s Game Four from Chase Field.
On the mound for the D’Backs will be Joe Saunders. During the regular season, the veteran left-hander had only one start against the Brew Crew. In a start on July 20 at Chase Field, Saunders allowed five hits and two walks over seven inning in a 5-2 Arizona loss.
Quietly, Saunders had one of his best seasons in his six-year big league career in 2011. His 3.69 ERA was his best number since 2008 and his 12 wins are the third best total of his career.
This will be Saunders fourth postseason start of his career. His first start came back in 2008 against Boston in the ALDS where he allowed five hits and four runs over 4.2 innings in a 5-4 Angels win. In 2009, Saunders had two starts against New York in the ALCS where he allowed 13 hits and five runs in 10.1 innings earning a no decision and a loss.
Randy Wolf will be on the rubber for the Brewers. His numbers this season are almost identical to Saunders with the same ERA and earning just one more victory than the Diamondbacks left-hander. At 35 years old, Wolf had his lowest strikeout total since 2007 when he made only 18 starts that year.
Wolf has had mixed success against the Arizona ballclub over the course of his career. In two starts this year, the left-hander has a 0-2 record with a 6.08 ERA. His numbers careerwise are better. In 20 starts, Wolf has a 10-5 record, but his ERA is still a high 4.64.
Despite having a lengthy career with a number of different clubs, Wolf has made only two appearances in postseason play. Those two appearances came in 2009 when Wolf was with the Dodgers. In two different starts, one in the NLDS and one in the NLCS, he allowed five runs in nine innings.
Just like in last night’s game, the key for the Diamondbacks will be to get an early lead. It is clear from last night’s game and throughout the regular season, this Brewers squad is clearly not the same team on the road as they are at home. If you get up on them early and get the crowd going, that could be enough to send this series to a fifth and deciding game in Milwaukee.