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Preview, #71: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies

And so, it begins...

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Gregor Blanco - CF Charlie Blackmon - CF
David Peralta - RF DJ LeMahieu - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Nolan Arenado - 3B
Jake Lamb - 3B Mark Reynolds - 1B
Chris Owings - SS Carlos Gonzalez - RF
Brandon Drury - 2B Ian Desmond - LF
Daniel Descalso - LF Trevor Story - SS
Jeff Mathis - C Tony Wolters - C
Zack Greinke - RHP German Marquez - RHP

The last time any of the D-backs, Rockies and Dodgers played it each other, was on May 14, when Los Angeles and Colorado finished off a split of the four-game series in Coors Field. Since then, these three NL West teams have had the three best records in baseball. The Diamondbacks are top, having gone 23-8, but not far behind are the Dodgers at 23-10, and the Rockies at 22-11. That's a combined mark of 68-29 for the trio since last seeing each other. And over the last ten games for each, they have been even better, posting a 25-5 record. That won't last: there are guaranteed to be more losses than that for someone between now and Sunday, with Colorado facing first us, then going to Los Angeles.

So there's no overstating the importance of this series, which is going to dent the sense of immortality for one or other team. The teams met at Coors on May 5-7, with Colorado taking two of three. But since then, the D-backs have lost only one of the twelve series that they have played (in Miami). The Rockies have been hardly less dominant, losing a two-game set at home to the Mariners, and dropping a series in Pittsburgh. That's not going to last either. Colorado, having home advantage, will likely be expected to take two of three, and anything less will feel like a setback. If Arizona can take the opener, and split the other two, that will be very significant.

Greinke, however, has been struggling a bit of late, with 15 runs allowed over his last 23 innings. Admittedly that isn't all on Zack. Six of those fifteen runs were unearned, including all five last time out, after a key defensive gaffe opened the door for a big inning by the Tigers. But an ace pitcher is supposed to be able to deal with that kind of thing, and it wasn't the defense that allowed the double, home-run and walk after the error. I'm hoping to see a bit better from Greinke here, as we start the most crucial series of the season so far.