They know each other very well.
“There’s no secrets here,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We know what they like to do. They know our players. They know our tendencies, they know our hitters’ tendencies, they know our pitchers’ tendencies. And we know theirs.”
The winner will face the Dodgers in the NL division series, beginning Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
It’s a matchup of under-the-radar franchises in the NL West that had turnaround seasons under first-year managers. The Rockies are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Diamondbacks haven’t been here since 2011. The game is sold out at 48,686-seat Chase Field.
“A couple of guys were wondering why the fans weren’t here early in the season and when were they going to start showing up,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday. “And I told them you keep playing the same type of baseball, they’re going to come out and support us.
“So we want to earn that. We know that they’re out there, and I can’t wait to what tomorrow brings as far as the crowd, the noise and the energy.”
Diamondbacks slugger J.D. Martinez relishes the idea of playing in the energized atmosphere of the winner-take-all contest, but said the players can’t get too caught up in the scene.
“It’s going to be awesome, it’s going to be fun,” he said. “But at the same time you have to control it. I think that’s going to be the hardest thing for everyone, both sides. It’s just being able to control that environment and being able to control your adrenaline, your emotions and your feelings, because all that stuff’s going to be on a high.”
Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA) will be making his 10th career playoff start. His postseason record is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA. He is 2-1 in five starts against Colorado with a 3.41 ERA in 341/3 innings.
The Diamondbacks signed Greinke to a six-year, $206.5-million contract before the start of last season. This is just the situation where they expect him to earn some of that money.
“I feel good going into it,” he said. “I feel pretty prepared. All my pitches feel good, so I’ll be doing as good as I can do. We’ll see how it is, but it will be as good as I can do.”
The Rockies counter with the 25-year-old Gray (10-4, 3.67), who said “it’s very cool” to go against Greinke.
“The guy’s obviously got a great track record,” Gray said. “He’s been a really good pitcher for years. It’s very exciting for me. He’s a guy I used to watch on TV so it’s very, very surreal.”
Gray is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks. He didn’t give up more than three runs in any of the starts.
Dealing with Martinez could be quite a chore. Acquired from Detroit before the trade deadline, Martinez has hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs in 62 games with Arizona. In September, he hit .404 with 16 home runs and 36 RBIs in 24 games.