NL WILD CARD GAME PREVIEW

October 04, 2017
By: Steve Degler

The National League Wild Card game will feature two familiar foes tonight when Colorado (87-75) visits Arizona (93-69). The West Division opponents met 19 times this season, with Arizona winning 11 of the games. This game features quite a bit of star power. Both teams have some very impressive players who have posted some gaudy numbers. 

Zach Greinke will get the start for the Diamondbacks. He went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA during the regular season and he will try to prove that he is worth the huge contract he signed with Arizona. Youngster Jonathan Gray (10-7/3.67) will be on the hill for the Rockies. Both pitchers were 2-1 against their playoff opponent during the regular season, averaging better than a strikeout per inning pitched. The only clear advantage here is that Greinke has a much longer track record than Gray.

The 19-game regular season series featured 42 home runs, 22 smashed by the D-Backs. Arizona outscored the Rockies 101-69 in the season series. The Snakes are led by Paul Goldschmidt who is one of the best players in the game. He had four homers and 15 RBI against Colorado . Overall he hit .297 this year with 36 HR, 120 RBI, 34 doubles and 18 stolen bases. The Diamondbacks made a huge mid-season acquisition when they acquired J.D. Martinez from Detroit. He has solidified the lineup and he hit .478 with three homers in six games against the Rockies. Jake Lamb added 30 round trippers and knocked in 105 runs. The veteran Fernando Rodney anchors the bullpen. He had 39 saves in 45 chances but his ERA was a whopping 4.23. It should be noted he blew two of four save opportunities against the Rockies with a 6.75 ERA. I wouldn't trust him to seal the deal.

The Rockies don't get to play this game at Coors Field but that shouldn't matter to their offense. Nolan Arenado is one of the most complete players in the game today. He combines offense (.309, 37 HR, 130 RBI, 43 doubles) with the best defensive play at third base in the game. He is a constant highlight reel. Charlie Blackmon posted an MVP type season, batting .331 with 35 doubles, 14 triples and 37 homers. He scored 137 runs and knocked in 104. Trevor Story, Mark Reynolds and Carlos Gonzalez give the Rocks some depth as well. Greg Holland is the closer. He was 41-45 in save situations. Former Phillie Pat Neshek will almost certainly be in the game at some point.

Prediction: This could be a fun game. Can Greinke neutralize the high-powered Colorado offense? Can someone other than Goldschmidt deliver for Arizona? Will the 25-year-old Gray handle the pressure or be like the Yankees' Luis Severino in the AL Wild Card game? I like the Colorado offense. Rockies 8-5.