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ESPN’s Stark: Greinke will be fine, D-backs still a playoff contender

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) throws against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: Jayson Stark, ESPN MLB analyst

Zack Greinke was supposed to be the ace of a revamped Arizona Diamondbacks rotation.

On Opening Night, he was roughed up by the Colorado Rockies for seven runs on nine hits in four innings.

Shelby Miller was hopefully going to pick Greinke up the next night, with the former Atlanta Brave entrenching himself as the team’s No. 2 starter.

He was knocked around for six runs on eight hits in six innings.

Then there was Patrick Corbin, who now even further removed from Tommy John surgery, was expected to return to his All-Star form and be a dynamic pitcher in the rotation’s third spot.

He surrendered four runs on eight hits in seven innings.

Needless to say, the top three pitchers in the D-backs’ rotation had a tough go of it in their initial outings of the 2016 season, which has led to some concern.

A guest of Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday, ESPN MLB analyst Jayson Stark said chances are all three hurlers will improve on their first starts.

“I’m pretty sure that this is not what we’re going to get all year from those three guys, and especially Greinke,” he said.

Stark noted he has no idea if Greinke was pitching while suffering the flu, as had been reported, but singled out the veteran right-hander as one player he knows will bounce back.

“Those kinds of days in the life of Zack Greinke come along once every five years, something like that,” he said. “And even though he’s not pitching in Dodger Stadium anymore, he’s too good, he’s too smart not to figure it out.

“I don’t think he’s anything to worry about.”

Last season, the most runs Greinke gave up in a game was six, which happened once. The season before, he surrendered five runs twice.

So when Stark says games like that are rare, he’s not kidding.

However, when it comes to Miller and Corbin, the track records of consistent success are not there to fall back on.

“You can’t be quite as certain what those two guys are going to be, but I still think that the Diamondbacks have an excellent chance to be at least a Wild Card team,” he said. “I’d feel a lot better about that if A.J. Pollock were still hanging around, but that’s a whole other story.”

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