NL Wild Card
Who: Colorado at Arizona
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix
PHOENIX – The Diamondbacks and Rockies share a spring training facility and played each other 19 times this season.
They know each other very well.
Now comes game No. 20 tonight, an NL wild-card matchup with Arizona's Zack Greinke facing Colorado's young Jon Gray.
“There's no secrets here,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We know what they like to do. They know our players. ... They know our tendencies, they know our hitters' tendencies, they know our pitchers' tendencies. And we know theirs.”
It's a matchup of under-the-radar franchises in the NL West that had turnaround seasons under first-year managers. The Rockies are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Diamondbacks haven't been here since 2011. The game is sold out at Chase Field.
“A couple of guys were wondering why the fans weren't here early in the season and when were they going to start showing up,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday. “And I told them you keep playing the same type of baseball, they're going to come out and support us.
“So we want to earn that. We know that they're out there, and I can't wait to what tomorrow brings as far as the crowd, the noise and the energy.”
Here are some things to consider when the Rockies meet the Diamondbacks:
Diamondbacks slugger J.D. Martinez relishes the idea of playing in the energized atmosphere of the winner-take-all contest, but said the players can't get too caught up in the scene.
“It's going to be awesome, it's going to be fun,” he said. “But at the same time you have to control it. I think that's going to be the hardest thing for everyone, both sides. It's just being able to control that environment and being able to control your adrenaline, your emotions and your feelings, because all that stuff's going to be on a high.”
Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA) will be making his 10th career playoff start. His postseason record is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA. He is 2-1 in five starts against Colorado with a 3.41 ERA in 34 1-3 innings.
The Diamondbacks signed Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract before the start of last season. This is just the situation where they expect him to earn some of that money.
“I feel good going into it,” he said.
“I feel pretty prepared. All my pitches feel good, so I'll be doing as good as I can do. We'll see how it is, but it will be as good as I can do,” he added.
The Rockies counter with the 25-year-old Gray (10-4, 3.67), who said “it's very cool” to go against Greinke.
“The guy's obviously got a great track record,” Gray said. “He's been a really good pitcher for years. It's very exciting for me. He's a guy I used to watch on TV so it's very, very surreal.” Gray is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts against Arizona. He didn't allow more than three runs in any of the starts.
The Rockies bring a powerhouse lineup featuring NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon (.331, 37 home runs, 104 RBI), Nolan Arenado (.309, 37 homers, 130 RBI) and Carlos Gonzalez, whose bat came alive late after an uncharacteristically tough year at the plate.