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Arizona Diamondbacks: What if the Cardinals overtake the Rockies?

By Joseph Jacquez
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 29: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks turns a double play as Randal Grichuk #15 of the St Louis Cardinals slides into second base during the first inning at Chase Field on June 29, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 29: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks turns a double play as Randal Grichuk #15 of the St Louis Cardinals slides into second base during the first inning at Chase Field on June 29, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The Arizona Diamondbacks might face someone other than the Colorado Rockies in the 2017 N.L. Wild Card Game

Not to long ago, it was a foregone conclusion the Arizona Diamondbacks would face the Colorado Rockies in the 2017 Wild Card Game.

As late as Aug 11, the Rockies were a game up on the D-backs for the first wild card spot. The St. Louis Cardinals found themselves 4.5 games back of Colorado and the Milwaukee Brewers were 6.5 behind the Rockies. At that point, St. Louis had won seven in a row, Milwaukee had lost six in a row and the Diamondbacks had lost three in a row.

Boy, how things have changed.

The Diamondbacks already clinched the top spot, and the Rockies padded their hold on the second wild card by beating the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on Wednesday.

The Chicago Cubs defeated the rival St. Louis Cardinals last night in St. Louis. The Cardinals elimination dropped to one, meaning they cannot loose in the series finale tonight.

The Brewers enter Thursday 2.5 games behind the Rockies and have an elimination number of two after being shut out by the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on Wednesday.

It is still mathematically possible, though highly unlikely, for the D-backs to face the Cardinals on Oct. 4 at Chase Field.

So, how did the Diamondbacks stacked up with the Redbirds this season?

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Season Series (7 games)

The two teams matched up for three games at Chase Field in late June and four at Bush Stadium in late July.

W/L: Cardinals, 4-3

Record by Ballpark: Chase Field (1-2), Busch Stadium (2-2)

Runs Scored: D-backs (26), Cardinals (24)

Batting Average: D-backs (.228), Cardinals (.208)

HR: D-backs (7), Cardinals (2)

K: D-backs (66), Cardinals (65)

ERA: D-backs (2.47), Cardinals (3.69)

Both teams did not swing the bats well against each other, but the D-backs pitched better. So how could the Cardinals have won the season series?

Well, after the two teams split the first two games in Phoenix, the bullpen coughed up three runs in the seventh and five more in the eighth and St. Louis won the series finale. That was a winnable game.

Then, after shutting out the Cardinals, 4-0, in the series opener in St. Louis, the Diamondbacks could not score in a 1-0 defeat. Credit Arizona with claiming one of the last two contests, but the D-backs could have easily won 3 of 4.

Pitching will define this series. Despite winning a major-league best 52 games at home this season and the Cardinals 39-42 record away from Busch Stadium, the overall numbers did not add up when the two teams met.

Regardless, I still think the Diamondbacks have the advantage at home, though I would much rather see the team face the Rockies.

D-backs bats vs. Cardinals pitching

Here are some of the notable highlights:

Paul Goldschmidt: 24 at-bats, .250 average, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Jake Lamb: 22 at-bats, .273 average, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Daniel Descalso: 17 at-bats, .294 average, 3 RBI, 5/5 K/BB ratio

J.D. Martinez: 16 at-bats, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 9 TB

Jeff Mathis: 7 at-bats, .429 AVG, 1 2B

Ketel Marte: 16 at-bats, .313 average, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Goldschmidt leads the team with 12 total bases. Lamb and Marte are tied for second with ten.

Cardinals bats vs. Diamondbacks pitching

Here are some of the notable highlights:

Jose Martinez: 11 at-bats, .364 AVG, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Jedd Gyorko: 21 at-bats, 5 RBI, 9 TB

Matt Carpenter: 25 at-bats, 6 H, 4 2B, 10 TB

Randal Grichuk: 26 at-bats, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 10 TB

PHOENIX, AZ – JUNE 29: Lance Lynn #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a first-inning pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 29, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – JUNE 29: Lance Lynn #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a first-inning pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 29, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Cardinals starter

The Cardinals best starter this season has been a close race between Lance Lynn and Carlos Martinez.

Lynn leads the staff with a 3.47 ERA, but Martinez is right behind him with a 3.64 mark. Both have made 32 starts but Martinez leads in innings pitched (205 to 181.1) and has more strikeouts with 217 compared to Lynn’s 148.

Here are the active D-backs he has faced this season, and their numbers:

Martinez was dominant in his one start against Arizona. The flame thrower allowed two earned runs on four hits in six innings, struck out 10 and walked three.

Lynn has made two starts against the D-backs. In 12 innings, he has given up five earned runs (3.75) on eight hits, but the most troubling number is 10 strikeouts against six walks.

Michael Wacha and Adam Wainright both pitched well in their only starts against Arizona, allowing a combined two earned runs in 12.1 innings, but the overall numbers are not pretty.

I think the Cardinals would balance overall numbers with success against the D-backs and pick between Lynn and Martinez.

D-backs starter

It is almost a given that Zack Greinke will start the wild card game for Arizona. In his only start against St. Louis this season, the right hander gave up one run on four hits in seven innings of work. That start came in St. Louis, but Greinke has pitched well at home all year.

Here are the Cardinals numbers against Greinke this season:

Greinke did not face the following Cardinal hitters: Aledmys Diaz, Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia, Carson Kelly, Jose Martinez, Alex Mejia, Stephen Piscotty, Alberto Rosario, Magneuris Sierra and Breyvic Valera

Related Story: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers: By the Numbers

"Arizona Diamondbacks will wrap up regular season in Kansas City"

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