Wild Card: Arizona Diamondbacks set for Greinke to battle Gray

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 22: Zack Greinke
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 22: Zack Greinke /

It’s Wild Card Wednesday and after the crazy, four-hour A.L. Wild Card, the world will be watching as the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Colorado Rockies. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies are in a winner-takes-all, do-or-die Wild Card game.

Zack Greinke got the call for the Diamondbacks, while the Rockies have called Jon Gray to face him.

It’s ace-against-ace, but starting pitchers didn’t do so hot in the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday.

Greinke is coming into the game with a 17-7 record, a 3.02 ERA and a 1.072 WHIP for the season. He is also the veteran and he has postseason experience.

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Gray is coming into the game with a 10-4 record, a 3.67 ERA and a 1.296 WHIP. This is his second full season.

At Chase Field

One key note is that Greinke has been dominant at home this season. He is 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA and 131 strikeouts at Chase Field.

If the Rockies weren’t nervous about that, they should know that Gray typically performs worse on the road. In 2017, he’s 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA when he’s away from Coors Field.

But, to his credit, he won both games he pitched at Chase this season and walked away with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings.

As Opponents

Both pitchers are 2-1 against the opposing team. Greinke is holding a 3.41 ERA in five games against the Rockies, while Gray’s 3.50 ERA comes in just three games against the Diamondbacks.

Greinke has earned 37 strikeouts against the Rockies in 34.1 innings. Gray has earned 26 in 18 innings.

A positive note for the Rockies is that Gray has reduced the Diamondbacks to just four walks in those starts, keeping them off the bases. Getting BB’d is a key part of the Diamondbacks attack, the team has earned 578 walks this season. The Rockies had 519.

The Diamondbacks offense batted .264 against Gray, while the Rockies offense batted .229 against Greinke this year.

Pitcher-Batter Matchups

With Gray being relatively new to the league and most of the Diamondbacks being new to the division (or the N.L.), most of the Diamondbacks faced Gray for the first time this season.

Jake Lamb and David Peralta both have 13 at-bats against Gray. They are batting .308 and .462, respectively, against him.

The biggest concern for the Diamondbacks is not just the fact that Paul Goldschmidt’s batting average in September started with a one, but in 11 at-bats against Gray, Goldschmidt has never gotten a hit.

In good news, J.D. Martinez has hit two home runs and earned four RBI’s off Gray in just six at-bats. The Rockies might look to pitch around him during the Wild Card game.

On the other side, the Rockies are no strangers to Zack Greinke.

Trevor Story has been a topic for concern as he hit four home runs off Greinke in 24 at-bats, also earning nine RBI’s for a .333 batting average. But, he’s not alone.

Carlos Gonzalez has the same batting average against Greinke, with five home runs and six RBI’s in 33 at-bats.

These are big at-bats to watch. Luckily, Greinke has held off Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, who are batting .277 and .265 against him.

But, the Rockies also have Jonathan Lucroy batting .636 against Greinke in 11 at-bats and Gerardo Parra batting .306 in 33 at-bats.

Final Thoughts

As in the A.L. Wild Card game on Tuesday, these two teams won’t hold anything back in this winner-takes-all matchup.

If Greinke gets into trouble early, the Diamondbacks could bring in Robbie Ray, or Archie Bradley to work a few innings a piece. But, the Rockies could do the same with their bullpen.

The game might be determined by the depth of each team’s bullpen. But, for the sake of the four-hour game the baseball world witnessed on Tuesday, let’s hope not.

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