Arizona at Milwaukee MLB Betting Preview for Thursday Night

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,May 24, 2017 9:49, EST in

Most series around baseball this Thursday are concluding, but that’s not the case from Milwaukee as the Arizona Diamondbacks open a four-game set in their only visit of the year to Beer Town. The Brewers are currently in a 2 game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, losing the first game last night and they’ll end the series tonight. For the Diamondbacks, they end a 3 game series against the Chicago White Sox, which they’re currently winning at 2-0. The Brewers are likely to be slight MLB betting favorites.

Arizona at Milwaukee MLB Betting Preview & TV Info

When: Thursday, May 25, 8:10 PM ET
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee
Probable pitchers (away/home): Robbie Ray/Zach Davies
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
Radio: Arizona / Milwaukee
Opening MLB Lines: Brewers favored by TBA

Why Bet On Arizona?

Star Diamondbacks outfielder AJ Pollock technically is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Thursday but is nowhere near ready from his Grade 1 groin strain and probably won’t return to the big club until early next month. Pollock was off to a great start to the season hitting atop the Diamondbacks’ lineup. He had appeared in 37 games this season, batting .299 with 12 doubles, three triples and two home runs. He has 11 stolen bases and 11 RBIs.

“When he returns,” Manager Torey Lovullo said, “he’s going to be 100 percent. He’s going to be ahead of this injury and ready to contribute at the level he was contributing prior to the injury.”

Arizona has overachieved so far this year. While the catchers haven’t been great, the Diamondbacks currently rank sixth in WAR from second baseman, 12th at shortstop, eighth at third base, sixth in right field, 10th in left field, and 13th in the bullpen. A team that was supposed to be full of holes instead has been extraordinarily well rounded, and with Paul Goldschmidt playing up to expectations and a resurgent Zack Greinke leading the rotation, the team has been excellent across the board.

It’s fire-balling lefty Robbie Ray (3-3, 3.91) on the mound. Ray allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out six batters through 7.2 scoreless innings during Saturday’s win over San Diego. Arizona scored five runs in the top of the first inning, and Ray put it in cruise control after that. This was a nice rebound showing from the lefty, too. He had surrendered nine runs through nine innings over his previous two starts and saw his ERA balloon from 3.47 to 4.57 during that stretch. Chase Field is a difficult venue in which to excel, and Ray owns a career 5.42 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over 31 starts there. He currently sports a 1.03 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 11.6 K/9 over four road outings this season, though.

Ray’s current swinging-strike rate of 12.9% is on pace to be a single-season career high, while his 68.4% contact rate is also on track to be a new personal best. Of Ray’s nine starts, five of them have been of the quality variety, but he’s failed to pitch at least six innings in any of the other four. He hasn’t experienced more than two quality starts in a row.

Why Bet On Milwaukee?

Junior Guerra (calf) is expected to be activated from the disabled list this week. Good news for the first-place Brewers. Guerra, who went down on Opening Day with a right calf strain, allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks in his second rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Brewers haven’t pinpointed a specific day, but he should return during this series. Guerra was the team’s best starter last season, putting up a 2.81 ERA over 20 starts.

Brewers reliever is Corey Knebel is one of the more interesting arms to occupy the ninth inning this season. Among pitchers, only elite relievers Craig Kimbrel (1.3 WAR) and Kenley Jansen (1.1) have matched or exceeded Knebel’s wins above replacement value (1.1) to date in a lesser volume of playing time than his 22 innings. Of all pitchers to throw at least 20 innings this season, Knebel owns the majors’ No. 1 infield fly-ball rate at 33.3%. Only eight pitchers in the majors have a rate of 20% or greater. He is fourth among pitchers with at least 20 innings thrown with a 0.82 ERA. He ranks fifth in FIP (1.36).

The Brewers have outscored opponents, 45-15, in the first inning this season, representing the largest run differential (+30) for any team in any inning this season. The team is batting .347 (66-for- 190) with 9 HR, a .419 OBP, .605 SLG and 1.024 OPS in the first inning.

The Brewers go with right-hander Zach Davies (5-2, 5.44). Davies allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over six innings Thursday in a win over San Diego. He struck out three. It was a solid performance for the 24-year- old, who got through the sixth inning for the first time this season. He has now won five of his last six decisions, and looks to be trending in a positive direction after a disappointing April in which he featured a 6.57 ERA and 1.86 WHIP.

Arizona at Milwaukee MLB Betting Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks

Ray has been great on the road and Davies is 3-2 with a 6.93 ERA at home this year.