On Opening Day, every team has hope of reaching the Fall Classic in October. For the Arizona Diamondbacks, that optimism will certainly be present at Chase Field when they open up against their NL West rivals, the Colorado Rockies.
For baseball fans, Opening Day is almost as exciting as Christmas morning. It’s the start of a new season, a fresh start, a clean slate.
The stakes are raised a little bit higher this season for the D-backs. With all the noise they made in the off-season by signing veteran pitcher Zack Greinke, Arizona believes they are bound to reach the post season for first time since 2011 when they won the division.
Looking from the D-backs’ perspective, there certainly can be a case made for them. Last year’s NL West champs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, enter the season pretty banged up. A number of key guys will start the season on the Disabled List, including second baseman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Andre Either. It’s safe to say they’ll be a toss up to start the year.
Meanwhile, San Diego and Colorado are pretty much out of contention right from day one. Both teams did very little to revamp their teams following poor 2015 performances.
The Padres finished in fourth place in the division with a 74-88 record. The Rockies rounded out the bottom of the cellar with a 68-94 season.
The D-backs biggest competition in the division, most likely, will be the San Francisco Giants. The Giants strongest component will be their starting pitching. Along with Madison Bumgarner, the Giants went out and signed Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to solidify their rotation. Many have picked the Giants to win the division this year, ending the Dodgers three-year run as division champs.
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(Plus, it’s an even year, so based on the pattern of champions since 2010, the Giants are in line to win the World Series this year as well. We shall see.)
Realistically, the D-backs aren’t hoping to tackle the Giants or the Dodgers and grab a division title. That line of thinking might be more appropriate for 2017 or 2018.
No, the D-backs are hoping for a Wild Card spot, which is tough to grab with that competitive NL Central with the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates.
The signing of Greinke was huge, there’s no doubt about it. They also picked up Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin is healthy to start the year. Realistically though, the D-backs are not much improved from last season. On top of that, they suffered a huge loss over the weekend when A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow sliding into home in an exhibition game Friday night against the Kansas City Royals.
You could feel the life being sucked right out of D-backs fans when the news was delivered following the game.
But the reality is, everyone starts evenly on Monday night. D-backs fans should remain hopeful because the push to make Arizona a playoff contender is real. It won’t be long until the D-backs take control in the West.
With that, let’s take a look at the pitching match ups for the opening series between the Rockies and the D-backs.
Next: Game One