Diamondbacks need strong from Greinke vs. Rockies
The Diamondbacks could use a strong start from Greinke (13-9, 3.08) after getting pounded 13-2 by the Rockies on Monday in the opener of a key four-game series. The Rockies (79-64) lead the National League West by 1 1/2 games with the Diamondbacks (76-68), losers of eight of their past 10 games, in third place, 3 1/2 games behind and four games back for the second NL wild-card spot.
In his last outing Thursday, a no-decision against Atlanta, Greinke gave up a season-high tying five runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings. It was just the second time in 15 starts that Greinke allowed four earned runs, a stretch in which he’s 8-4, 2.40 with 20 walks and 90 strikeouts in 97 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .211 batting average.
Overall, Greinke has 180 strikeouts, which ranks sixth in the NL, and just 37 walks in 181 1/3 innings, the fourth most in the league.
“He’s smart, he knows hitters very well,” said Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has hit five home runs against Greinke, tied with teammate Trevor Story and Jason Giambi for the most Greinke has allowed to any hitter. “He knows how to keep you off his pitches. He nibbles a lot, and he gets calls because normally they’re really close. He’s going to try to be super fine or super far away from you. With a guy like him, we just got to be patient and at the same time, don’t miss that pitch (to hit) because that one pitch is all he’s going to give you (that at-bat).”
Greinke is 2-0, 2.33 in three starts against the Rockies this year and 11-5, 3.75 in 28 games (27 starts) against them. He’s 4-1, 4.20 in 11 games (10 starts) at Coors Field.
Antonio Senzatela (4-5, 4.92) will start for the Rockies. He’s 2-4, 4.47 in nine starts since returning to the rotation July 3. Senzatela is 0-2, 6.75 in two games (one start) against the Diamondbacks this season and 0-3, 8.27 against them in six games (two starts). In his last start Wednesday against San Francisco, Senzatela allowed a career-high tying nine hits and three runs in five innings and ended up with a no-decision in Colorado’s 5-3 win.
If the Diamondbacks have a save situation in the ninth, they won’t be turning to Brad Boxberger to get the final three outs. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo announced before Monday’s game that he has pulled Boxberger from the closer’s role. He has 32 saves in 39 chances, but in four games this month, Boxberger is 0-3, one-for-two in save situations and has allowed five hits, three walks and six runs in two innings.
Lovullo said he told Boxberger after Sunday’s game the Diamondbacks would rely on matchups in the ninth inning. On Sunday, Boxberger came on with the Diamondbacks leading Atlanta 5-4 and gave up two singles to start the inning and Ender Inciarte’s three-run homer.
Lovullo said Boxberger was “on board” with the decision but obviously disappointed.
“But at this point in time,” Lovullo said, “we just feel like we got to maximize every situation and every opportunity to get 27 outs. He’s still in that equation. It just might be done a little bit different.
“It’s going to be done by matching up, trying to get through the situation the best that we can based on the hitters that are coming up and who’s available in the bullpen. With nine outs remaining, I typically was counting how to get through six outs. The only thing that will change is (I’ll) probably manage how to get nine outs because I was handing off that ninth inning to ‘Box.’ “