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NLDS Game 3 Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks turn to Zack Greinke to save season

josephjacquez
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Starting pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning of the National League Wild Card game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on October 4, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04: Starting pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches during the first inning of the National League Wild Card game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on October 4, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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After loosing the first two games of the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, the Arizona Diamondbacks will send Zack Greinke to the mound to face Yu Darvish

When the Arizona Diamondbacks were on a losing streak during the regular season, one right hander seemed to always play the role of “the stopper.”

That man was D-backs’ ace Zack Greinke.

In 11 starts following a Diamondbacks loss, Greinke was 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA (21 ER in 72.1 innings pitched) with 86 strikeouts and 14 walks. His outstanding track record in this situation including a 8-game winning streak from April 24 to Aug. 14 (1.71 ERA during that stretch).

Greinke owns a career 4-4 record with a 3.74 ERA (28 ER in 67.1 innings pitched) in 11 starts against his former team. In seven of those 11 outings, he allowed two earned runs or fewer and three or fewer in nine of them.

Greinke was 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA against the Dodgers in two starts this season. If anybody should pitch at Chase Field with everything on the line, you would think it would be Greinke. Though, he did struggle against the Colorado Rockies, but I fully expect Greinke to return to form this evening.

In 18 starts at Chase Field this season, Greinke posted a 13-1 record with a 2.87 ERA (37 ER in 116.0 innings pitched) and opposing hitters batted just .209 at “hitter-friendly” Chase Field.

Greinke will have to find a way to get Dodger batters to do something they did rarely in games one and two: swing at pitches outside the zone. Very few pitchers induced more swings and misses on balls than Greinke did this year.

Facing Yu

Darvish has not pitched in two weeks, but the Japanese right-hander pitched well against the San Diego Padres in his last start. He was 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA on the road this season.

If there is anything in the D-backs favor tonight, it is that Darvish should have some rust at least to start the game. Recently, Darvish has been at his best when he establishes his fastball for strikes and uses his Frisbee-slider to get punch outs and weak groundballs.

In two career postseason starts, both with the Texas Rangers, Darvish was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. But, the Dodgers mid-season acquisition has pitched to a 2.75 ERA and a 2-0 record in three career starts against the Diamondbacks. Darvish struck out 38 Arizona batters in 19.2 innings pitched and walked only two.

Darvish faced the Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Aug. 10 and allowed only two earned runs, but threw 106 pitches in five innings. How he uses his pitches to sequence hitters will be something to watch.

With the Dodgers especially, he has used his cutter a lot and cut out his curveball. But, his slider will be the key pitch. If he has good horizontal movement and is able to break off the plate away to righties and to the back foot of lefties, it could be a long night. The D-backs hae to capitalize on chances and take advantage of mistakes over the middle of the plate.

Current D-backs players own a .162 average against Darvish (6-for-37) and have struck out 47.5 percent of the time. J.D. Martinez has the only home run. Martinez is a career .182 hitter and Goldschmidt does not have a hit in 11 at-bats, but Darvish has been anything but consistent since coming to Los Angeles.

Current Dodger players own a .230 average against Greinke (42-for-183) and have struck out 22.5 percent of the time. Justin Turner has a home run, 5 RBI and a .318 average in 22 career at-bats.

"Arizona Diamondbacks: Pitching has fallen flat in the NLDS against Dodgers"

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