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Greinke’s bad Wild Card outing could cost Diamondbacks in NLDS

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke waits his turn for batting practice at Chase Field as the team gets ready for a National League wild-card playoff baseball game Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks face the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

When someone dies with a pretty negative resume of life, we usually give a few days or weeks before we talk about those negatives again.

It’s kind of the same with the Arizona Diamondbacks Wild Card Game. I gave it a day or two before I brought up the negative. Wednesday and Thursday were times to celebrate.

Now that it’s game day, the celebration is over. It’s time to get real.

Despite the team winning Wednesday night, Zack Greinke’s sad performance might have cost the D-backs the National League Division Series.

Despite decent numbers against left-handed pitching, the Dodgers can’t touch Robbie Ray. The lefty struck out more than 1.5 Dodgers per inning in his five games against them this season. He’s 3-0.

If Greinke does his job Wednesday, Ray pitches Friday in Los Angeles. Instead, Greinke’s $206 million wasn’t enough to earn the expected “pitcher of record” for Wild Card Wednesday.

Now, Game 1 of the NLDS is between ace Clayton Kershaw and Taijuan Walker — who, in case it’s not clear, is not named Ray.

Nothing is guaranteed, but I would pick the D-backs every time in a postseason game when Kershaw drags his history of failure to the mound against Ray’s Dodger-killing 2.27 ERA.

Then, assuming a split series after a Game 1 D-backs victory, Greinke would have been on the mound at home for the enormous Game 3 showdown.

Now the rotation is in flux from Game 2 forward.

Do you bring back Greinke or Ray on odd rest for Saturday? Do you wait till games 3 and 4 before you use Greinke and Ray? Does manager Torey Lovullo want to see if Arizona steals Friday’s game before a decision is made on Game 2 in order to avoid being down 0-2 without Geinke or Ray pitching?

In any decision Lovullo makes, he has to take into account Patrick Corbin. The lefty has a WHIP of nearly 2 (which is atrocious) and an ERA over 5 against the Dodgers this year.

If Greinke even pitched into the sixth inning, a rotation of Ray, Walker (2-0 with 3.24 ERA versus LA) and Greinke should put the D-backs up by a game before Arizona sees Kershaw again. Now, there’s no wiggle room to skip Corbin against the Dodgers.

This isn’t doom and gloom. Everyone in baseball knows the Diamondbacks offense can carry the team to victory in any postseason game — look at Wednesday.

Greinke might go on to completely eradicate one bad outing by performing greatly in a few more starts, maybe even in a World Series.

However, if Greinke’s postseason outings are this poor the rest of the way at $206 million, should Arizona continue to pay him? For the price of one 2018 Greinke, you could return A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez to the 2018 outfield.

It would appear they would do more after the fifth inning on than Greinke did.


Tune in to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, your exclusive home for Arizona Diamondbacks playoff baseball.

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