Rockies familiar with challenge D-backs present

The Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks have matched up 19 times in 2017. On Wednesday, the two NL West rivals will have their most important meeting of the year in the NL Wild Card game.

Rockies’ Wild Card starter Jon Gray said the familiarity the two teams have adds some extra challenge.

“They know what you have, I know what they have,” Gray said. “But there’s always changes going on in the game, there’s always adjustments being made…it’s just executing pitches and doing what you know works.”

Despite that familiarity, Gray said he’s not changing his plan too much against the Diamondbacks big hitters.

“I think that I just need to control my tempo and delivery and just keep doing the same things I have been,” Gray said. “They’re a tough offense, they’ve got a lot of big bats in their lineup.”

Rockies’ manager Bud Black said “there’s no secrets here” on knowing how the Diamondbacks work.

“It comes down to, on our side, trying to halt the things that they like to do,” Black said. “(We have to) make our pitches in certain locations where we feel we have to pitch certain hitters. They know our tendencies…and we know theirs.”

The Diamondbacks lineup, especially the middle, is “formidable,” Black said.

“Power is always dangerous, because it’s one swing. It’s one swing with a couple guys on, can really change the game.”

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said he feels the Diamondbacks’ one advantage is the experience the rotation has. 

“Their bullpen is good, our bullpen is good,” Arenado said. “We can hit, they can hit. There’s some similarities there, but I think their rotation is a little more solidified than ours.”

On facing Zack Greinke, who is starting for Arizona, Arenado knows the D-backs’ ace presents a challenge, but also knows the Rockies have the capacity to make him work.

“Greinke has had some success against us sometimes and we’ve been able to hit him a couple times,” Arenado said. “I think it’s going to be a battle.”

Rockies’ catcher Jonathan Lucroy isn’t phased by the power in the Diamondbacks lineup. After facing the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, as long as his pitcher is on, he’s not worried about the opponent, he said.

“I don’t care who we’re playing, after that lineup it doesn’t matter who I’m calling a game against,” Lucroy said. 

It’s win or go home on Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 5:00 P.M.