Preview: Marlins’ final road trip of season begins in Arizona
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks begin their final homestand Friday swimming in possibilities.
Can they use their final six home games to clinch a National League wild-card berth? Can J.D. Martinez maintain his record home run pace? Can Zack Greinke continue to patch his Cy Young resume?
And more important, can they do anything to slow Giancarlo Stanton?
Arizona (88-65) will open a three-game series against the Miami Marlins (72-80) with a firm hold on the first NL wild-card spot. The team that winds up in that position will own home-field advantage for the Oct. 4 winner-take-all play-in game.
The Diamondbacks have a six-game lead over the Colorado Rockies (82-71) for the top wild-card spot with nine games remaining. Arizona’s magic number to clinch its first playoff berth since 2011 is three. The D-backs would host a wild-card game if they finished tied with Colorado because they won the season series, 11-8.
Arizona enters its series with Miami after avoiding a three-game sweep in San Diego on Wednesday. The Diamondbacks overcame a 6-2 deficit against the Padres with 11 runs in the last four innings of a 13-7 victory.
“To not get swept, and to go home into an off day with a win, regroup and finish off these last six at home … it’s go time,” said Arizona setup man Archie Bradley, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday and also added a two-out, RBI single in a two-run eighth inning for a 9-6 lead.
Bradley added: “It’s a great day to be a D-back.”
It has been a great month to be a D-back for right fielder Martinez, who is slashing .380/.416/.958 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs in 17 September games. Martinez has won the last two NL Player of the Weeks awards, and he has 25 homers in 54 games since joining Arizona on July 18. He has a career-high 41 this season, in which a record number of homers were hit throughout the majors.
Martinez’s two-run, opposite-field homer tied the game at 6 in the sixth inning Wednesday, one of nine homers hit by the two teams at normally pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
“I think the game has adapted,” Martinez said. “Pitchers are always ahead of hitters. I think hitters are starting to catch up with pitchers. You don’t see too many sinker guys anymore. Everyone wants to throw four-seamers. Everyone wants to throw the ball up. If you throw the ball up, that ball’s going to get hit.”
Martinez is one homer short of tying Luis Gonzalez’s franchise record for homers in a month. Gonzalez had 13 in April 2001, the year in which the Diamondbacks won their only World Series championship.
Greinke (17-6, 2.87 ERA) is set to oppose left-hander Adam Conley (7-7, 5.20 ERA) in the first game of the series Friday at Chase Field.
The Arizona right-hander is tied for the major league lead in victories with Clayton Kershaw, Zach Davies, Corey Kluber, Jason Vargas and Chris Sale. His 2.87 ERA is fifth among NL qualifiers behind Kershaw and the Washington Nationals trio of defending champion Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
Greinke is third in the NL in WHIP (1.02) and fifth in strikeouts (208). He is 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his past four starts, and he would tie Randy Johnson for the franchise record for single-season home victories (14) with his next win at Chase Field.
Greinke is 5-0 with a 2.75 ERA in nine career appearances (eight starts) against the Marlins, the only team that has not beaten him.
Stanton leads the majors with 56 homers after hitting one when the Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets on Wednesday. He is one of 14 players to have as many as 56 homers in a season, and he has said that he is shooting for one-time season record-holder Roger Maris’ total of 61, set in 1961.
“I’m getting up there with some great company,” he acknowledged after tying the biggest years of Ken Griffey Jr. and Hack Wilson on Wednesday.
Stanton has 120 RBIs, second in the majors only to Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado’s 125. Stanton is 3-for-15 with one homer, two RBIs, three walks and seven strikeouts in 18 career plate appearances against Greinke.
“I’ve got 10 games left,” Stanton said. “The season’s not over. Once you get to the end of the season, you look back. But I don’t go each day, ‘Hey, I’ve got this or that.'”
Conley can tie career high in wins set last year. He is 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA on the road this year. He has not faced the D-backs this season and is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA against them in his career.