He was the Opening Day starter, is the owner of the largest contract in team history, and leads the team in bWAR, having given the team their first six win season since Dan Haren in 2009. So when it came to start the most important game for the Arizona Diamondbacks in almost six years, there was really only one serious contender. Having come through his final regular season start against the Kansas City Royals last night, the official announcement followed before today’s game at Kauffman Stadium:
It's official. Zack Greinke will be your starting pitcher for the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/69A5BUyHZm— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 30, 2017
Greinke made 32 starts this year for the Diamondbacks, going 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and a 3.30 FIP. He struck out 215 over 202.1 innings of work, and showed significant all-around improvement on his disappointing first season with Arizona last year. Perhaps factoring into the decision - though more likely, cementing it - were Zack’s stellar numbers at Chase Field, the venue for Wednesday’s contest. There, he was 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA. He was also very solid against the likely opponent, the Colorado Rockies, losing only once in five starts, going 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA [We’d best hope the Brewers don’t prevail, as his one start against them led to five earned runs in 5.1 IP!]
The most likely candidate for the Rockies, if they do indeed take the second wild-card spot, appears to be Jon Gray, with Colorado setting up the rotation to that end. While Greinke has a lot more post-season experience than Gray, the Rockies’ rookie has a nasty slider which has been effective. That’s why he struck out 26 of our batters over 18 innings against Arizona. Overall, he made three starts this year and is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA. It should be a good match-up, but I have every confidence Greinke is the right man for the job.