The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are quite familiar with each other, which should make for an interesting matchup between the two division rivals in Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card Game (8 p.m. ET, TBS, TBS.com and the Watch TBS app) at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Wednesday night will be the 20th meeting this season between these two National League teams, and the Diamondbacks and Rockies have an even more intimate relationship since they also share a spring training facility at Salt River Fields, just 21 miles from Chase Field.
.@SaltRiverFields So, how are you feeling about everything?#Rocktober pic.twitter.com/83bnuF4TQK— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) October 2, 2017
In the six-year history of the Wild Card Game, this is the first time the National League West has placed three teams in the postseason, with the winner on Wednesday night advancing to play the 104-win Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series, beginning Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Both Arizona and Colorado had remarkable turnarounds in 2017. The Diamondbacks won 93 games one year after a not-so-nice 69-win season, and made their first trip to the playoffs since 2011. The Rockies turned 87 losses in 2016 to 87 wins this year, and are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Zack Greinke is in the second season of his six-year, $206.5 million contract with Arizona, and pitched like in ace in 2017, going 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA in his 32 starts, with 215 strikeouts in 202⅓ innings. He gets the start on Wednesday for Arizona, hoping to improve on his 13-1 record and 2.87 ERA in 18 home starts this season.
"He's an unbelievable pitcher," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said of Greinke, to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. "It feels like he knows what you're thinking sometimes. That's a credit to him."
Jon Gray starts the Wild Card Game for the Rockies, looking to continue his second-half surge. The 25-year-old right-hander has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last 13 starts, sporting a 2.64 ERA since July 25 with 80 strikeouts in 78⅓ innings.
“I think the innings and experience gained, you can’t purchase, you have to live them,” Colorado pitching coach Steve Foster told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “Jon’s had some big moments during this year already, and I’ve seen him make some big pitches at big times. I’ve seen him add to that belief and that trust in himself.”
Teams, game time, TV and streaming info
- Teams: Rockies (87-75) at Diamondbacks (93-69)
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- First pitch: 8:08 p.m.
- Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz.
- TV: TBS
- Streaming: TBS.com and the Watch TBS app
- Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, Sam Ryan
NL Wild Card news & notes
Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley was dominant this season, with a 1.73 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 73 innings. But he stumbled in two of his last three outings, allowing five runs on nine hits in four innings. From Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:
The Diamondbacks have been giving Bradley extended appearances as a way to prepare him for the postseason, when they expect to ask him to go multiple innings more often than he did during the regular season. He’s thrown 38 and 37 pitches in his past two outings but has recorded just five and four outs, respectively.
“For me it’s just a reminder that I’m not invincible,” Bradley said. “Guys can hit pitches. Guys are going to hit pitches out of the park. And, so, with the type of games we’re playing and the type of situations I’m going to be pitching in, I’m just going to have to make better pitches.”
The Rockies offense is peaking at the right time, including National League MVP candidate and 2017 NL batting title winner Charlie Blackmon, who hit .331/.399/.601 with 86 extra-base hits and 137 runs scored. From Nick Groke of the Denver Post:
“This is what we’ve been working for for a long time,” Blackmon said. “It’s what you dream about as a kid. We were just asking for a chance. We just sneaked in under the wire, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, to be honest. We took a lot of steps forward as a team this year and that’s why we’re where we are.”
Arizona won 11 of the 19 regular season meetings against Colorado in 2017, but the two clubs split their 10 games in Phoenix. Piecoro on the familiarity between the two teams:
“Fortunately, we’ve faced them so many times you have an idea of what you want to do and how you want to execute it,” Bradley said. “It really just comes down to just doing it.”