Brewers Hot at Home

Milwaukee catcher Johnny Estrada has been struggling at the plate recently, but he'll have extra motivation when he takes the field against his former team Monday night.

Estrada tries to get back on track when he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time since a tumultuous departure in the opener of a four-game series at Miller Park.

Estrada hit .302 with a career-high 11 home runs and 71 RBIs in 115 games for the Diamondbacks last season - his only one with the team - but saw his playing time diminish toward the end of the season. He voiced his frustration with the situation to Arizona manager Bob Melvin and wasn't surprised when he was traded to the Brewers (51-40) in a six-player deal in the offseason.

"We never got off on the right foot there for whatever reason," Estrada told the Brewers' official Web site. "Everybody was to blame, not just Melvin. It came from the top, from (general manager Josh Byrnes) down to me. It was just bad communication, and it went from bad to worse and things went out of control."

Estrada is batting .285 with eight homers and 34 RBIs for Milwaukee, but is enduring a season-high three-game hitless streak. He is 0-for-12 over his last three contests, but got Sunday off.

Oddsmakers have made Milwaukee -145 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Milwaukee -145 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Milwaukee also acquired right-hander Claudio Vargas in that deal while left-hander Doug Davis was sent to Arizona (49-44). Vargas will start Tuesday and Davis will take the mound Wednesday.

The Brewers have taken four straight series at Miller Park, where they are 32-14 with wins in 10 of their last 12 games. They dropped their series opener to the Colorado Rockies, but won the final two, including a 4-3 victory on Sunday.

Kevin Mench hit a tiebreaking, pinch-hit RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch for the Brewers, who lead the Chicago Cubs by 3 1/2 games in the NL Central.

Milwaukee will hand the ball to Dave Bush (7-7, 4.86 ERA), who is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in his last five appearances, including four starts, following a three-game losing streak. The right-hander held Washington to one run and seven hits over seven innings and struck out a season-high tying seven in a 6-2 win on July 6.

Bush is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two career starts versus the Diamondbacks, holding them to a .229 batting average.

Arizona fell 4-0 to the San Diego Padres on Sunday - its fourth shutout of the season - but still won the three-game series. The Diamondbacks are opening a seven-game stretch on the road, where they have dropped a season-high five straight games and eight of their last nine.

They have lost seven of their last 10 contests in Milwaukee, but the teams split six overall meetings in 2006.

Arizona's Chad Tracy is expected to be back in the lineup after not starting Sunday due to tendinitis in his right knee. He walked as a pinch-hitter after going 4-for-9 in the first two games of the series.

Micah Owings (5-4, 4.84) tries to avoid losing his fourth straight decision when he takes the mound for Arizona. The right-hander went 4-0 in seven starts from May 8-June 20, but is 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA in his last three starts, allowing opponents to hit .323.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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