When the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers begin their 2011 MLB NLDS series on Saturday, the two teams staring across the diamond at each other will be looking at something very familiar. Both teams come from smaller, non-coast markets and neither team has made a lot of noise in the playoffs recently. More importantly, both teams play a similar style of baseball.
"They have a lot of power. I think they're line up is very similar (to ours). Both teams are very similar in numbers. It's kind of eerie how close in everything we stack up. Pitching ERA, home runs, home records," Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy said, adding, "I think it's going to be a fun series."
Here's a quick breakdown of those stats Kennedy mentioned and a few others:
(Diamondbacks / Brewers)
- Record: 94-68 / 96-66
- Team ERA: 3.80 / 3.63
- Home runs: 172 / 185
- Runs scored: 731 / 721
- Home wins: 51 / 57
- Road wins: 43 / 39
- Payroll: $53.6m / $85.5m
Of course, teams are far more than their stats and these two teams have more in common according to D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, "They have very powerful players. (They have) an interesting mix of speed. They're very aggressive, much the same way we are."
Where the two teams are probably most different is the way each side creates offense.
The Brewers rely more on their two stars, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun to drive in runs. The Diamondbacks on the other hand, have Justin Upton as the primary threat but then get production from a lot of other sources ranging from Miguel Montero to Aaron Hill. The D-backs attack can be unpredictable while the Brewers middle of the order is more dangerous.
The D-backs won four of the seven games the teams played this season including two of three in Milwaukee. All seven games were played in July and the teams are very different now according to Gibson. Ryan Braun missed four of those games and the D-backs hadn't yet traded for 2B Aaron Hill or called up 1B Paul Goldschmidt.
Most importantly, the playoffs are a different beast and so whatever the record in the regular season, it doesn't matter now according to D-backs CF Chris Young.
"If we were 0-7 against them we would still go into the series confident. If we were 7-0 you still can't lay back. I think you have to go into it like it's an entirely new series," Young said.
"It will be great," Gibson said. "Good hard baseball. A lot of respect on both sides."