ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Behind the matchups: D-backs face Rockies in NL Wild Card

Sep 30, 2017, 5:34 PM
(AP photos)...
(AP photos)
(AP photos)

Playoff baseball is back in the Valley.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will be taking on the Colorado Rockies Wednesday in the National League’s Wild Card Game for a chance to face the top team in the NL, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the NLDS.

First pitch is at 5:08 p.m., with pregame coverage starting 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

There are endless variables in a one-game series, but let’s take a deeper look at the breakdown between the two teams.

Key Rockies stats vs. the D-backs in 2017

Record: 8-11

Batting average: .226

Opponent batting average: .259

ERA: 5.18

Key Rockies stats at Chase Field in 2017

Batting average: .208

Opponent batting average: .256

ERA: 4.13

Expected Rockies starting pitcher

Jon Gray would be the likely candidate when the Rockies face the D-backs. He put together a 10-4 record with a 3.67 ERA in 20 starts of 2017 so far and leads Colorado in strikeout rate of 9.1 per nine innings. As of his Wednesday’s start, he’s allowed three or fewer runs in 12 straight.

Three starts against Arizona have led to two wins for Gray.

June 30 — 6.0 innings, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 HR (Chris Owings), 1 BB, 10 K

Sept. 2 — 5.0 innings, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 HR (J.D. Martinez), 3 BB, 6 K

Sept. 12 — 7.0 innings, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 HR (Martinez), 0 BB, 10 K

Arizona has a .265 average against Gray in three games this season, worse than their .303 average against him in five games over the course of his three-year career.

The Rockies could also look to 22-year-old righty German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA), but against the D-backs, he owns a 0-3 record in six starts with 17 earned runs, five homers and 37 hits allowed in 33.1 innings.

Arizona’s starter

Zack Greinke has found reasonable success against the Rockies this year.

He is 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts, and Colorado hit .229 against him. He’s never allowed a homer to Rockies leaders Nolan Arenado (.277/.306/.447) or Charlie Blackmon (.265/.302/.367).

The D-backs ace went at least 6.0 innings in every one of his five outings against Colorado. His worst game, the first meeting of the year, saw Greinke give up home runs to Trevor Story, Alexi Amarista and Mark Reynolds — yet he was still in line to win before closer Fernando Rodney blew a 6-4 Arizona lead in the ninth in a 7-6 loss.

If the Diamondbacks do run out All-Star Robbie Ray against the Rockies should Greinke get in trouble, it won’t be because he was successful against them this season. The lefty walked eight and allowed seven runs, including three homers, in 12.2 innings over two starts against the Rockies, losing both games.

What’s in the D-backs’ favor?

– Owings hit four of his 12 home runs this year against Colorado, but his status remains in doubt due to a finger injury that might make him only available to pinch-run.

– Martinez raked against most teams since joining Arizona, but his .478 average against the Rockies, 10 runs scored, four doubles, three homers and nine RBI couldn’t be much better. His OPS against the Rockies of 1.562 is third-highest among opponents he’s faced.

– It’s hard to find a team that Paul Goldschmidt doesn’t have good numbers against in his career, but his best numbers against NL West teams are facing, you guessed it, the Rockies. His batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.420), OPS (.974), runs scored (85) and doubles (33) off Colorado pitching are all his highest numbers compared to other NL West matchups.

– Colorado’s two star players have not hit well at Chase Field this year. In 10 games, MVP candidate Arenado is hitting only .237 with one home run and five RBI. Arenado, in fact, has his average drop from .329 to .283 when playing on the road. Charlie Blackmon hit even worse, racking up only eight hits in 44 plate appearances at Chase Field in 2017, good for a .182 average.

What trends are going against Arizona?

– Jake Lamb has a .197 average against the Rockies this year. He also has 13 hits to 26 strikeouts and seven walks.

– Two of Rodney’s six total blown saves on the season came against Colorado. The second time around on July 2, the D-backs scored on a Ketel Marte walk-off RBI in the bottom of the ninth to also give Rodney the win.

Rodney has lost control more often at Chase Field than away from it. Three of his four losses in 2017 have come at home and his WHIP jumps from 0.95 on the road to 1.40 at Chase Field.

– A year after starting the season by hitting two homers off Greinke in his own MLB debut and the pitcher’s debut with the D-backs, Story is batting .235 in a down year. But three of his homers have come against Arizona — two were against Greinke. He still holds a .333 career average against Greinke, same as Carlos Gonzalez, who in his career has faced Greinke in many more at-bats.

— Former D-back Gerardo Parra is a lifetime .293 hitter against Greinke but entering the weekend against the Dodgers was on a 1-for-21 skid. He was batting .200 over his last 23 games as of Friday.

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