Rockies at Diamondbacks – NL Wild Card Pick for October 4th

by Taylor Smith
on October 4, 2017
Colorado Rockies (+148)
Arizona Diamondbacks (-173)
Total: 8.5

The Rockies and Diamondbacks have already done battle 19 times this season, but it will be their 20th meeting that determines which will play on. This is uncharted territory for both clubs. This will be the Rockies’ first postseason appearance since losing in the NLDS to the Phillies in 2009, while Arizona hasn’t been to the playoffs since falling to the Brewers in the 2011 NLDS.

Both teams will be sending their respective aces to the hill. Jon Gray will toe the rubber for Colorado, while wily veteran Zack Greinke takes the hill for Arizona. Gray battled injuries this season, but he was largely effective when healthy. The 25-year-old Oklahoma native finished the regular season 10-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 20 starts.

Gray went 2-1 with a 3.50 mark in three starts against these Diamondbacks, too. He’s been in good form, as he’s allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last 13 starts. Gray has a 2.64 ERA and 80 strikeouts during his current run. Gray’s been particularly dominant against D-Backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy is 0-for-11 with five strikeouts against Gray on the season.

Gray has shown slight reverse-split tendencies through his three-year career to this point, which could be problematic against an Arizona lineup that features serious right-handed thunder. In addition to Goldschmidt, the red-hot J.D. Martinez and A.J. Pollock may also give Gray some problems along the way.

Martinez, who was acquired from the Tigers before the trade deadline, has been a godsend for the D-Backs. The former Astros castoff hit a robust .404/.439/.970 with a whopping 16 home runs and 36 RBI in September alone. Martinez has two hits in six career at-bats against Gray, and both hits left the yard.

Arizona counters with Greinke, who has rounded back into form this season after a discouraging first season in the desert in 2016. Greinke finished the regular season 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. The veteran boasted a strikeout rate of 26.8 percent this season, which is the best number he’s posted since a 28.1 percent mark with the Brewers several years ago.

This will be the sixth time Greinke has faced Colorado this season alone. Greinke’s 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in the previous five starts against the Rockies, though three of those outings did come in the hitter’s paradise known as Coors Field. Chase Field is still a favorable setting for hitting, of course, but Greinke has an ERA of 2.87 in 18 outings at home.

The value is with the Rockies at +148 on the moneyline, but it’s hard to pick against Greinke pitching at home. The Diamondbacks have also been one of baseball’s hottest teams for the last month or so, and you can be sure they’re hell-bent on the chance to face the heavily-favored Dodgers in the NLDS.

The Rockies have been beating the odds all season long, but Arizona makes for the more logical pick in this game.
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