One of the greatest things about being a part of the FanSided network is the ability to ask questions of other sites who cover their teams as passionately as we cover the Colorado Rockies.
With the National League Wild Card game between the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks set for tonight at 6:08 p.m. (Denver time), I asked five questions to Joe Jacquez of Venom Strikes, Arizona’s FanSided site. Below are his answers.
Who is the biggest X-factor for the D-backs in this game?
For me, the definition of an X-factor is someone who is rarely talked about but, given an opportunity to showcase his skills, could have a dramatic impact on the game.
That means Fuentes has a chance to impact the game off the bench, either as a pinch hitter or pinch runner. With the game tied or close, I think Fuentes could run for Chris Iannetta, Jake Lamb or Martinez and create havoc on the base paths.
Were Greinke’s last couple of starts cause for concern or just a hiccup in the eyes of D-backs fans?
Greinke’s last start against the Kansas City Royals was a tuneup for the wild card game. As a result, his final line does not tell the whole story. Manager Torey Lovullo made the right decision to pull him after four innings.
But, Greinke struggled in his last start at Chase Field against a Miami Marlins lineup that is eerily similar to the Rockies lineup. Greinke made mistakes in the middle of the plate and they made him pay for it.
I think D-backs fans need to look at the bigger picture. Not only did Greinke already surpass his innings total from last season before his last two starts, but he has dominated the Rockies this season.
Tonight’s game is the reason why the D-backs invested $200 million-plus in him, and he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League this season. Let me put it this way: Do not expect Greinke to pitch like Luis Severino did last night.
Paul Goldschmidt has terrorized the Rockies in the past but is 0-for-11 against Jon Gray? Will he turn that around on Wednesday night?
Big stars come out to play in big situations. I have no doubt in my mind that Goldschmidt will turn in a big performance tonight.
Yes, he has struggled against Gray, but Martinez has homered off the Rockies right-hander, and this should allow Goldschmidt to get a pitch to hit.
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When he struggles, Goldschmidt misses hittable pitches. I do not envision him doing that tonight. He is an MVP frontrunner for a reason.
How confident are you in Fernando Rodney being able to close out a game if needed?
On a scale of 1-to-10, I am probably at a five right now. Overall, Rodney turned in a consistent first season with the Diamondbacks. But every time I think he has turned a corner, he enters the game and starts spraying the ball and, before you know it, the lead is gone.
But, if Archie Bradley is used in a high-leverage situation earlier in the game, ala Andrew Miller, Lovullo may not have another option. The best way to avoid another episode of the “Fernando Rodney Experience,” is to score early and often against Gray.
Who is the one player in Colorado’s lineup that worries you the most on Wednesday night?
Nolan Arenado. I know it seems obvious but it is true. This guy is the best run producer in baseball, and he has burned the Diamondbacks more than once this season.
Other than J.D. Martinez and Khris Davis of the Oakland Athletics, nobody hits the ball harder with runners in scoring position than Arenado and he always seems to take away a hit at third base when the other team needs it most.