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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #1: Zack Greinke makes his debut

It feels like forever since the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke. But here we are, and tonight he finally make his first start in a meaningful game.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jorge De La Rosa
LHP, 0-0, N/A
Zack Greinke
RHP, 0-0, N/A
Charlie Blackmon - CF Jean Segura - 2B
Trevor Story - SS Chris Owings - CF
Carlos Gonzalez - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Nolan Arenado - 3B Welington Castillo - C
Gerardo Parra - LF David Peralta - RF
Mark Reynolds - 1B Yasmany Tomas - LF
Nick Hundley - C Jake Lamb - 3B
DJ LeMahieu - 2B Zack Greinke - RHP
Jorge De La Rosa - LHP Nick Ahmed - SS

Has there ever been a more eagerly-anticipated debut than Greinke? Perhaps the only comparable might be all the way back on Opening Day 1999, when the Big Unit took the mound for his first game as a Diamondback. That was merely okay by Randy Johnson's ferociously-high standards. Seven innings of work, two runs allowed on five hits with nine K's, but he walked six and got a no-decision. The bullpen imploded, allowing three runs in the ninth to cost Johnson a win, then two in the 11th as Los Angeles won 8-6. Let's hope that is not any kind of omen for what happens at Chase Field tonight!

The rest of history actually looks pretty good for the Diamondbacks. We are 8-1 over the last nine games against the Rockies at Chase, and in his last six starts here, Greinke is 6-0 with an ERA of 0.65. He also has an ongoing 23.1 inning scoreless streak here, which according to Stats LLC is the second longest by any starter here (Hideo Nomo went 32,1 innings from 1999-2004). Meanwhile, De La Rosa is 1-7 in his career ten starts. However, tonight will end the streak of 237 consecutive games where the D-back starting pitcher is under 30, the last thirty-something being Brandon McCarthy on July 3, 2014.

However, we are still the youngest roster in the major leagues, retaining the position we had at the end of last year. Here's how the five youngest shape up, per Stats LLC

  1. D-backs - 27 years, 126 days
  2. Rays - 28 years, 60 days
  3. Phillies - 28 years, 96 days
  4. Brewers - 28 years, 222 days
  5. Orioles - 28 years, 237 days

Keys to the game? Score early and settle the nerves, I think. Especially with the loss of A.J. Pollock, the doubters and second-guessers have come out in full force - apparently we should somehow have predicted Pollock breaking his elbow before trading Inciarte, or something. Given the problems posed by Mount .500 last year, I think we'd rather start off on the right side of it. Don't let Arenado beat us. Two outs and the bases empty? A walk might not be the worst thing in the world, in a tight game. Just as Goldy is head and shoulders the best hitter we have, Arenado is (perhaps even more so) the best hitter Colorado have. Treat with respect.

Tonight, it all begins. 162 games which will include triumph, disaster, laughter, tears and rage - just like every baseball season before them. Enjoy the good things about both this game and the team, because they're what really matters - don't let the bad things get under your skin, and don't fret too much, because it's only a game. Albeit the greatest game in the world, with an Opening Day unmatched by any other sport. Right now, anything is possible, even the Diamondbacks going 162-0! Breathe in the delicious possibility, and appreciate whatever may unfold over the next six months.

Play ball!