Survive and advance. That's what Wednesday night's National League Wild Card game is all about.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies will meet in that matchup at Chase Field beginning at 5:08 p.m., and only the winner's season will continue. The D-backs are 11-8 against the Rockies this season and have won each of their last two meetings.
Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA) will take the mound for the D-backs, and Jon Gray (10-4, 3.67 ERA) will be the starter for the Rockies. The winner will take on the Dodgers in a best-of-five division series that will begin Friday night in Los Angeles.
Here are ABC15's predictions for Wednesday night's showdown in downtown Phoenix.
ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy
Zach Greinke vs. Jon Gray. No surprises here: Greinke pitching in the playoffs is exactly why the D-backs are paying him so much, but on the flip side of that discussion is pressure. To me, the pressure is squarely on the D-backs' shoulders: Home field advantage, Greinke, and all the big hitters. The Rockies, on the other hand, have Gray, who’s 2-0 at Chase Field this season, and they have a deep lineup that’ll face Greinke.
The good news is rookie D-backs skipper Torey Lovullo has turned this team around in one season with solid pitching, timely hitting and a new attitude in the clubhouse. It’s been a team full of energy and an almost football-like mentality when it comes to winning.
Bottom line: I like the D-backs in this one, for two simple reasons: Torey Lovullo and relief pitcher Archie Bradley. Attitude is contagious, and the D-backs are on a roll.
D-backs 6, Rockies 4
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
After receiving the largest contract in MLB history two years ago, Zack Greinke flat out has to win games like this. Regular-season statistics are great, but you get paid the big bucks to perform on the big stage. He’s been as good as it gets at home this year, but as we know, the Wild Card is one game. Anything can happen in one game, especially against a Rockies lineup that includes two NL MVP candidates in Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon.
Rockies starter Jon Gray will be making his postseason debut, but the 25-year-old heads in with plenty of confidence. Over the last two months, Gray had a 2.44 ERA and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last 13 starts. Not to mention, he owns Paul Goldschmidt; Goldie’s 0-11 against Gray.
Will the youngster who has nothing to lose outshine the Cy Young winner? Or will the Diamondbacks ace prove his worth on the biggest stage the team has played on in six years?
My prediction is Greinke gives up his typical home run. The numbers of baserunners at the time will determine how detrimental that dinger will be. And speaking of dingers, J.D. “Just Dingers” Martinez will stay hot, drive in some crucial runs and electrify the home crowd. In the end, the Diamondbacks' offense will prove to be enough and Greinke will perform well enough to get the W.
D-backs 4, Rockies 2
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
The Diamondbacks are a better team than the Rockies, but in a single-game elimination format, that might not matter. Postseason success largely comes down to timing, and some key D-backs players have been struggling of late.
Zack Greinke has not looked good in his last two outings. Paul Goldschmidt hit well below .200 in September. And Archie Bradley, who has been unhittable for most of the season, had his worst outing of the year Saturday. Jon Gray, on the other hand, is riding a hot streak: He went 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA in September, and he gave up just two runs in seven innings in a victory at Chase Field on Sept. 12.
The Diamondbacks are a trendy pick among many MLB experts to beat the Rockies, upset the Dodgers in the NLCS and perhaps advance all the way to the World Series. But for the reasons listed above, I have a bad feeling about this Wild Card matchup. I hope I'm wrong.