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Brewers-Diamondbacks Preview

Brewers-Diamondbacks Preview
The Arizona Diamondbacks looked like serious contenders in the NL in April. Poor play on the road, however, has offset the club's hot start.

Hoping to rebound from a miserable road trip, the Diamondbacks look to avoid falling below .500 for the first time in nearly three months Monday night when they return home to open a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Arizona (41-41) put together a franchise-best 20-8 start to claim baseball's best record at the end of April. Since then, the Diamondbacks are 21-33 and 8-21 on the road.

The club's struggles away from home were particularly evident during its most recent trip, during which Arizona averaged 2.4 runs and batted .209 in dropping three straight series and seven of nine games.

Arizona was in position to win its series against Florida over the weekend, but closer Brandon Lyon gave up two runs in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss Sunday.

"It's a tough one, especially going home, it's a long flight," Lyon said. "The way we played this series we should have come out with at least two out of three. It's kind of the way things are going right now, when one thing is not going good things keep slipping."

Though they're still atop the weak NL West, the Diamondbacks are in danger of falling below .500 for the first time since they were 1-2 on April 3.

Luckily for them, Milwaukee (44-37) has also struggled on the road. The Brewers have lost three of their last four away from Miller Park to fall to 19-24 on the season, and totaled three hits in a 5-0 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.

The Brewers look to bounce back against a familiar face Monday, when they meet former Milwaukee pitcher Doug Davis (2-3, 3.68 ERA). The left-hander, who spent three-plus seasons with the Brewers from 2003-06, is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in three starts against the Brewers since being traded to Arizona before the 2007 season.

Since beating Atlanta on May 23 in his return from the disabled list following surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid gland, Davis is winless in six starts. He gave up three runs in seven innings of Arizona's 5-4 road loss to Boston on Tuesday - his third straight quality start.

On Monday, the Brewers hand the ball to Dave Bush (4-7, 4.94), who's put together two of his best starts of the year in notching back-to-back victories for the first time since July 6 and 16. After limiting Toronto to one run and two hits in eight innings of an 8-7 win June 19, the right-hander gave up one run and four hits in seven innings of a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Tuesday - his first road victory of the year.

Before that game, Bush was 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA in seven road games - six starts.

"He is throwing better," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He's throwing more strikes. ... He's getting ahead in the count."

Bush has won each of his four starts against the Diamondbacks, posting a 3.55 ERA.

Milwaukee will welcome Eric Gagne back to the bullpen. The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner was activated after Sunday's game following more than a month on the disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis. He'll likely be used as a setup man for the time being.

"It'll be good to get back on the mound," Gagne said. "Ready to rock and roll."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 29, 2008

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