D-backs preparing strategy, studying for Rockies Wild Card starter Jon Gray
Oct 3, 2017, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:15 am
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
In most Wild Card situations, there wouldn’t be a real sense of familiarity among the two teams facing off in the one-game playoff.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, however, are division foes in the NL West and played each other 19 times in 2017.
In three of those games, right-hander Jon Gray took the mound for Colorado, going 2-1 in 18 innings with a 3.50 ERA. Both wins came at Chase Field.
With that familiarity, divisional matchups allow for players to see others grow and get better over the years. That’s something A.J. Pollock has experienced hitting off Gray, who has been in the majors since August of 2015.
“He’s a good pitcher. He’s got really, really good stuff,” Pollock said.
“It’s tough. It’s never going to be an easy at-bat against him.”
Pollock, and the D-backs as a whole, have emphasized a team approach to breaking down Gray.
“I think, when you have a good pitcher like that, you’ve really got to — it’s a team effort,” Pollock said. “You’ve got to make him uncomfortable. You can’t do that with one guy. You’ve got to have the whole team put on good at-bats and make good pitches the whole game.”
With the uniqueness of a one-game playoff and the break before it, manager Torey Lovullo and his team have lots of time to get even more familiar with Gray.
“I know that there’s a lot of work that’s going on right now as we speak for people that are going to be ready to talk about what Jon Gray has been doing over the past several starts,” Lovullo said.
“So our guys are going to prepare to the best of their ability, and that’s by studying. That’s by relating their experiences with one another, talking over approaches.”
For all the complicated exercises that go into a pitching matchup, outfielder David Peralta made it sound relatively simple.
“You’re looking for him to make a mistake. If he makes a mistake, you have to be ready for it. You have to have a good game plan against him. He’s a good pitcher, but we have to work as a team,” Peralta said.
“If we’re going to win the Game 1-0, this is all we need, one run. We’re just looking for a mistake. We have to be ready and have a good game plan.”
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The 2017 National League Wild Card Game gets underway just after 5 p.m., and you can hear the action on 98.7 FM.