The Arizona Diamondbacks will host the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card matchup that features two teams from the NL West. The winner gets the privilege of taking on the Dodgers who have had a stellar season but notable haven’t had a great post season record over the past few years in the Clayton Kershaw era. The Diamondbacks closed the regular season out well finishing 93-69 whilst the Rockies finished 87-75, Arizona posting the better record since the all star break. However as we witnessed last night in the do or die format only the best team will advance on the night and the rest is as they say history.
The Diamondbacks will take the mound with ace Zack Greinke, who bounced back after a disappointing 2016 to go 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 202.1 innings, resulting in an fWAR of 5.1. He not only enjoyed pitching at home where he posted a 13-1 record and a 2.87 ERA but he also liked facing Colorado this season. In five games that spanned 34.1 innings of work, the right-hander posted a 3.41 ERA with 37 strikeouts and just 2 walks, while Rockies hitters managed a meager .229/.241/.435 triple slash with an OPS+ of 69 against him. Arizona features one of the game’s great lineups, with perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt leading the charge. He hit .297/.404/.563 with 36 homers, 120 RBI, 18 stolen bases, a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 142 and an fWAR of 5.3. He was joined by perhaps the best midseason trade acquisition in recent memory, J.D. Martinez, who hit .303/.376/.690 with 45 homers, 104 RBI, and a wRC+ of 166 in just 119 games played. While he’s only been with Arizona for 62 games, he still slugged 29 dingers and put up an insane .741 slugging percentage. A.J. Pollock, Jake Lamb and David Peralta fill out a DBacks lineup that scored the fourth-most runs in the National League this year.
Arizona’s bullpen, while not elite, was effective for most of the season, with the second-best ERA in the NL (3.78). Fernando Rodney somehow saved 39 games with an ERA of 4.23, but Archie Bradley is really their only other top-notch reliever, with a 1.73 ERA this season. If they want to get deep into October, though, they’ll need significant contributions from somewhere else in their bullpen.
Colorado’s ace Jon Gray has been outstanding since returning from injury. He was limited to just 20 starts this season after landing on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his foot, but he ended up posting a 10-4 record with a 3.64 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. Lets remember this is a starter that calls Coors Field home. He allowed more than three runs in just three of his 20 starts, and didn’t do so once after July. Gray also experienced some success against Arizona in 2017, going 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA against them, while opposing hitters mustered a .264/.308/.458 line. Like Arizona, the Rockies feature a loaded lineup they led the NL in runs scored, with MVP candidates Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado at the head of the class. Blackmon hit .331/.399/.601 with 37 homers and 104 RBI, but it is worth noting that he was much better at home (.391/.466/.773 slash line) than on the road (.276/.337/.447). Arenado hit .309/.373/.586 with 37 bombs, 130 RBI, and 100 runs scored, and unlike Blackmon, his numbers at home (.336/.392/.644) weren’t as drastically different to when he hit the road (.283/.355/.531). Trevor Story, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Gonzalez round out a potent Colorado lineup. While Arizona finished with the better bullpen ERA, the Rockies appear to have a more dynamic set of relievers that can be used in important situations. Greg Holland saved 41 games and posted an ERA of 3.61 this year, with Jake McGee, Pat Neshek, and Chris Rusin also providing some solid late-inning options for Colorado.
This promises to be a great contest in a surprisingly even matchup. If this game was to bring into account the starting rotation, Arizona for me are the much better team. That said in the do or die format Rockies ace Jon Gray is on a 13-game streak holding opponents to three runs or fewer. In those games, he has 80 strikeouts to 16 walks. He has 20 strikeouts in two regular-season games at Chase Field this year. This game looks to be down to the best pitcher wins, Greinke or Gray…
On that note I’m happy to take the value on the Rockies and the under.
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