It’s game 163 for two familiar foes as the Colorado Rockies travel to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. There’s no film session needed as these two teams are very familiar with each other. Not only do the Rockies and Diamondbacks play in the same division and have matched up 19 times already this year, they even share the same Spring Training facility. Having beers together at night in March is one thing, but in October baseball there are no opposite team friendships.
There’s a lot of money coming in on Arizona and the playoff savvy Zack Greinke. 62% of the bettors are on Arizona but the line has fluctuated from a -165 open to a peak of -176 down to the -159 where it stands four hours before game time. Colorado starter Jon Gray has less experience, but he is riding a hot streak of holding opponents to under 3 ER in 13 straight games. Backing Gray and the Rockies pays out +155 and the total is set at 8.5 in this supposed pitching battle.
Gray takes to the mound with confidence – especially at Chase Field. He has made three starts against Arizona this year, going 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA. In the two starts in Arizona Gray’s ERA is lowered to 2.77 and he’s struck out 20 while walking only one in 13 innings pitched. As a whole however, the Diamondbacks have hit Colorado well this year with only one regular hitting less than .240. Arizona batters are hitting .333 against Gray in their careers although Diamondbacks star Paul Goldschmidt is hitless in 11 career AB against the right-hander.
How much can Arizona really expect out of MVP candidate Goldschmidt as he’s not only without a hit against Gray, but comes into the postseason in an 0-17 slump. They may not need to rely on Goldy at all the way J.D. Martinez is swinging the bat, especially at home where the slugger has hit .373 with 16 home runs in just 30 games. Of course Greinke’s performance goes a long way in what is needed from the Arizona offense too. He’s got the experience of nine postseason starts under his belt and has held Colorado to a .229 average with a 3.41 ERA and an eye-popping 18.5 K/BB ratio.
The reason that MLB Wild Card games are so impressive is because they really can go either way. In that case it’s almost better just to take the underdog, in this case Colorado at +155. If you’d done that last night however in the Twins/Yankees game, you’d have burning money as New York pulled off the win – even though the situation was different as they were -245 on the moneyline. Gray has been great for Colorado and they have two MVP candidate in Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. You can’t underestimate the seasoning of Greinke though and the electric home crowd at Chase Field. If Goldschmidt gets going and Martinez stays hot it could be all that Greinke and the D’Backs need to advance on to the Dodgers.