For the first half of the season, the Rockies looked like they might be one of the best teams in baseball. For the second half, the D-backs looked the exact same way. They both were in the shadow of the Dodgers, but one of them is going to be a scary National League Division Series opponent. Tune in to TBS on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET to catch all the action. Here, I'll predict the lineups, assess the big questions for each team and pick a winner.
Lineups (announced Wednesday afternoon)
CF Charlie Blackmon
2B DJ LeMahieu
RF Carlos Gonzalez
3B Nolan Arenado
SS Trevor Story
LF Gerardo Parra
1B Mark Reynolds
C Jonathan Lucroy
LF David Peralta
SS Ketel Marte
1B Paul Goldschmidt
RF J.D. Martinez
3B Jake Lamb
CF A.J. Pollock
2B Daniel Descalso
C Jeff Mathis
Three questions for the Rockies
1. Can Gray be the true ace? Is it possible that Jon Gray is the best Rockies postseason pitcher they've had yet? He has more shutdown stuff than anyone else who has pitched for the Rockies in October, and he's been terrific since returning from injury. He's capable of shutting down the D-backs. Now'd be a nice time!
2. Can Gonzalez keep it going? For the first five months of the season, CarGo was having one of his worst statistical years in his career. But he came alive in September, hitting .377 with six homers and an OPS of 1.250. He's one of the main reasons the Rockies held onto the final NL Wild Card spot. This lineup looks a lot tougher if CarGo is hitting.
3. Can they solve Greinke? Zack Greinke had a comeback season that will earn him some NL Cy Young Award votes. And he was OK against Colorado, with a 3.41 ERA in three starts. But Colorado would absolutely take 3 1/2 runs in this game, right? If they get can three runs off Greinke, that feels like a winnable game.
Three questions for the D-backs
1. Can Peralta and Marte get on base for the big boys? Goldschmidt and Martinez are as scary a 1-2 punch as anyone still playing. If those guys can get on base -- for a team that has the lowest OBP in the postseason -- Arizona may be able to put this game away early.
2. How's the bench? The D-backs actually don't have that deep of a lineup, and their bench is scrappier than it is imposing. But guys like Brandon Drury and Chris Iannetta are nifty to have.
3. Can they avoid it being a bullpen game? The D-backs would like Greinke to throw as long as possible, and maybe have a nice big fat lead for Fernando Rodney in the ninth. They don't want this to be a one-run game in the ninth or even worse, tied.
Gray gives the Rockies a puncher's chance, and again, it's just one game. But the D-backs look like a division champ, maybe a league champ, rather than a Wild Card team. The Rockies look like a Wild Card team
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