The Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West division title for a fifth year in a row, but they must eagerly await their NLDS opponent after the conclusion of the Wild Card game Wednesday night between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
It’s been a long season thus far, and many of us will just have to sit back and wait for the conclusion because that’s the beauty behind the madness of October. Both squads were causes of Dodger headaches this year, and helped make the NL West the toughest division in baseball because it was composed of three teams that had 85 wins or more in 2017.
This matchup will take place at Chase Field, which is notorious for enhancing offense. This is especially good for the Diamondbacks, who are 52-29 at home and have a .274 batting average, compared to their .235 batting average on the road. Arizona will lean on their ace, Zach Greinke, who’s 13-1 as a starter at home in 2017. The former Dodger has postseason experience, but he’s 2-4 during those six starts and has a higher average of runs allowed compared to his 2.87 ERA at Chase Field this season.
Greinke has a 3.41 ERA in five starts against the Rockies this year, and has allowed four home runs (all against Mark Reynolds and Trevor Story) in three meetings at Chase Field. Nolan Arenado is one of baseball’s premier players at third base, and he’s 6-16 against Greinke with three RBIs in 2017, but NL Batting Champion Charlie Blackmon only has a surprising .188 batting average in those three matchups this year.
If Arizona’s bullpen can help contain Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Gonzalez then they’ll be in good shape at home. The Rockies fought hard throughout the last two months to solidify their spot in the Wild Card, but they’ll have to make sure that they score enough runs to keep their starting pitcher comfortable in a hostile environment.
25 year old Jon Gray will get the start for Colorado, and the former No.3 pick in the 2013 MLB draft is 2-0 at Chase Field this year. In 13 total innings of work at Chase Field, Gray has 20 strikeouts and a solid 2.77 ERA. Many Arizona hitters have done well against Gray in the past five years, especially Jake Lamb, David Peralta, and J.D. Martinez (MLB’s steal at the trade deadline).
Martinez has been the most consistent threat on the offensive since becoming a Diamondback, and he’ll need help from All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, whose 0 for 9 with 5 strikeouts against Gray this year. All eyes will certainly be on Goldschmidt, because the Diamondbacks won’t be advancing if he doesn’t produce Wednesday night, period.
Everyone will know more after Wednesday, but the Dodgers are happy that they’re able to watch these two clubs battle for a trip to Dodger Stadium. Both of these clubs have expressed their confidence about a possible matchup with the Dodgers, but neither are there just yet. It’ll be interesting to see how either opponent handles facing Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, but we’ll just have to wait and see until first pitch at 7:31 p.m. PST on Friday night.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”http://www.dodgersnation.com/the-dodgers-nlds-network-start-times-for-first-2-games-and-more/2017/10/02/”]The Dodgers NLDS: Network, Start Times For First 2 Games, and More[/button]