Greinke Trustworthy at Home in Arizona vs Colorado Series Finale

Saturday, March 31, 2018 6:23 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 31, 2018 6:23 PM UTC

Arizona (2-0) is favored to sweep Colorado (0-2) at home tonight at 8:10 ET. Should the heavy chalk scare bettors away from Arizona?

Arizona Diamondbacks (2-0) vs Colorado Rockies (0-2)

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Free MLB Pick: Arizona First 5 RLBest Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Despite tweaking his groin a couple weeks ago, Arizona starter Zack Greinke (0-0, 0 ERA) is healthy. He pitched six innings of one-hit baseball vs Cleveland in his last Spring Training start on Monday. When he is healthy, he is most reliable at home and within the first 75 pitches. Last season, his second in Arizona, he figured out how to pitch well in Chase Field, producing a 2.87 ERA at home. In the three times he played Colorado at home last season, he limited the Rockies to a combined total of two runs in the first five innings.

Greinke most frequently pitches a fastball that is a shell of its former self in terms of velocity. But he puts nice backspin on it and mixes in a variety of off-speed and breaking pitches in order to keep the hitter on his toes. Even if a pitcher’s fastball is slow, he can make the batter feel like its velocity is higher by locating it effectively and by selecting pitches effectively. The interesting aspect of Greinke’s consistent success vs Colorado last year is that in all three games he was very consistent about how frequently he ended up throwing each of his pitches. The Rockies basically knew what to expect from Greinke, but not in a given at-bat. Part of what makes Greinke so difficult to hit is the rather unpredictable sequencing of his pitches. Batters have trouble discerning a pattern as to when Greinke will throw each pitch. For example, he’ll mess with a batter’s head, throwing the same pitch over and over again, while the batter expects him to finally throw a different pitch. Also, some of his pitches are hard to identify as such. His slider, for instance, produced a high whiff frequency by not possessing the key features that batters look for when trying to discern a slider. By the time a batter realized that they were getting a slider and not a fastball in the strike zone, it would be too late. The Rockies were powerless to stop him, besides achieving minimal damage after the fifth inning.

Colorado starter German Marquez (0-0, 0 ERA) begins his second full season. He could never find consistent success against Arizona, never pitching well twice in a row against them. Marquez had one strong performance in Arizona, that was the first time which Arizona had ever seen him. Marquez had an advantage as a 22-year old because not a lot of scouting footage on him was available for his opponents to view. In his other two starts in Arizona, Marquez allowed seven runs in 9.1 innings. Marquez’ characteristics are high velocity and high ground ball rate. He threw his fastball about as frequently as any other pitcher before he began to mix in a sinker. Either way, the Diamondbacks match up well against him. Against a fastball and sinker at Marquez’ average velocity, 95 mph, the Diamondbacks produced a .254 team BA in 556 pitches, good for tenth-best. This BA skyrockets to .270 in Arizona’s ballpark. The BA skyrockets even higher when one accounts only for Marquez’ primary pitch, the fastball.

Watch out especially for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who is 6-for-10 with a double and two home runs in his career vs Marquez. Goldschmidt tends to struggle on the road, but at home he hit .321 last season.

Because the value in Greinke dips after his second time through the order, let’s stick to a first 5 play on our MLB Picks.

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