The Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers kick off the National League Divisional Series on Saturday at 2:07 ET. It's a matchup of two teams that played nearly even against each other during the regular season.
D-backs vs. Brewers This Season
Inside the Series
Arizona won the regular-season series, 4-3, but the teams finished identical in nearly every offensive category.
In their head-to-head matchup, they scored exactly 28 runs apiece, hitting nearly the same amount of home runs with eerily similar batting profiles.
Miguel Montero starred for Arizona, batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs against Milwaukee. For the Brewers, Ryan Braun batted .417 (5-for-12) with a pair of home runs in just three games against Arizona.
On the Mound
Yovani Gallardo gets the Game 1 call for the Brewers. The five-year veteran enters the postseason coming off a stretch where he struck out at least 10 batters in each of his final three starts (36 total). He became the first Brewers pitcher with double-digit strikeouts in three straight starts.
Gallardo finished with more than 200 strikeouts for the third straight season, the only pitcher in Brewers history with three 200-strikeout seasons.
KennedyOpposite Gallardo will be NL Cy Young Award candidate Ian Kennedy. Kennedy won 21 games during the regular season, tied for fifth-most in Diamondbacks history.
Kennedy was particularly locked in after the All-Star Break, posting a 12-1 mark with a 2.11 ERA and strikeout rate of 8.8 per nine innings pitched. His ERA after the break was more than a run better than before it (3.44 ERA before the All-Star Break).
Good When It’s Close
Arizona-Milwaukee pits two of the best teams in baseball in one-run games.
The Diamondbacks finished an MLB-best 28-16 in one-run games. Last year they were just 19-23 in one-run games, sixth-worst in MLB.
Much of the credit is owed to Arizona’s improved bullpen. They posted a 3.71 ERA and converted 82 percent of their save opportunities, second-best in NL.
It’s a major turnaround from their 5.74 bullpen ERA in 2010, the worst by an NL bullpen since the end of World War II.
The Brewers didn’t finish too far behind, however, posting a 30-18 record in one-run games (second-best in MLB).
AxfordBrewers closer John Axford anchored the Milwaukee bullpen, finishing the season with a franchise-record and NL-best 46 saves.
After blowing two saves in the first seven games, he converted his final 43 save opportunities of the season.
The Diamondbacks are the fifth team in MLB history to make the playoffs after dropping at least 96 games the previous season.
But such rebounds have yet to yield a World Series champion. Two teams, the 1991 Atlanta Braves and 2008 Tampa Bay Rays fell short in the World Series. The other two, the 1999 Diamondbacks and 2007 Chicago Cubs, were eliminated in the NLDS.