The Milwaukee Brewers have struggled to score runs in the last two games of their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Having Ryan Braun out of the lineup for a second straight contest likely won’t help matters.
The Brewers hope to have their slugger back Sunday as they try to avoid a third straight loss and salvage a split of the four-game set with the surging Diamondbacks at Miller Park.
After going 1-for-12 with six strikeouts in his previous three games, Braun missed Milwaukee’s 4-1 loss on Saturday with a stiff back leaving his status uncertain for the finale.
Though he’s hitting .143 (8-for-56) lifetime against the Diamondbacks, the Brewers (12-12) likely can’t afford to be without Braun - batting .314 and tied for the team lead with five home runs - if they want to revive their offense.
It’s also uncertain if J.J. Hardy will return after Milwaukee manager Ken Macha rested the shortstop the last two games while he’s mired in a 1-for-20 slump.
“I’m trying. Nothing’s happening,” Hardy told the Brewers’ official Web site. “I feel like the game’s going 100 mph for me right now. I don’t think (a break) will hurt.”
Milwaukee won 4-1 in Thursday’s series opener for its eighth victory in nine games, but it’s been outscored 9-3 in losing the last two. The Diamondbacks (11-13) have won five of seven and look for their first three-game winning streak of 2009.
While Petit (0-2, 8.62 ERA) allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings of an 11-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, he’s pitched relatively well against Milwaukee. The right-hander, who is filling in for injured ace Brandon Webb, is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against the Brewers.
Justin Upton homered and Chris Snyder had a two-run double Saturday for Arizona, which is on the first stop of an eight-game road trip after playing just one previous series away from home this season.
“(The offense) has been timely the last few nights, definitely,” said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose team is still ranks near the bottom of the majors with a .232 batting average.
Upton is batting .387 (12-for-31) with three homers and 10 RBIs during his nine-game hitting streak. The outfielder, though, is 0-for-6 lifetime against Milwaukee’s scheduled starter Dave Bush.
One start after taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 6-1 victory at Philadelphia on April 23, Bush (1-0, 4.50) allowed four earned runs and six hits while hitting three batters in five innings of a 6-5 home win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
“Days where I’m having trouble controlling the fastball, it’s going to get away from me,” said Bush, who’s hit five batters this season. “I’m going to hit guys all year round. It’s part of the way I pitch aggressively inside.”
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 4.15 ERA against Arizona.