PHOENIX -- The D-backs are going with experience behind the plate and at second base for tonight's National League Wild Card Game vs. the Rockies at Chase Field, while the absence of Ian Desmond represents the biggest surprise for Colorado.Catcher Jeff Mathis and second baseman Daniel Descalso have their fair
PHOENIX -- The D-backs are going with experience behind the plate and at second base for tonight's National League Wild Card Game vs. the Rockies at Chase Field, while the absence of Ian Desmond represents the biggest surprise for Colorado.
Catcher Jeff Mathis and second baseman Daniel Descalso have their fair share of postseason experience. Mathis played for the Angels in the American League Division Series in 2007-09 and the AL Championship Series in '09 before his club was defeated by the Yankees. Descalso appeared in the 2012 NL Wild Card Game in addition to four NL Division Series, four NL Championship Series and two World Series during his time in St. Louis.
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"You know what you're going to get," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Descalso. "I love that type of player on the field. He's played in World Series. He's had big at-bats.
"Offensively, you know exactly what you're going to get. He's going to give you a grinding 'put my nose into this at-bat' type of feeling. So to me, it was a no-brainer for him to get the nod tonight."
Arizona's middle-of-the-order trio of Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez and Jake Lamb figures to present problems for Colorado starter Jon Gray. Martinez is especially dangerous, considering his 29 home runs in 62 games with the D-backs this season -- as well as his two homers in six career at-bats off Gray.
Desmond's absence from the Rox's lineup registers as a surprise, although he is just 3-for-22 (.136) with seven strikeouts lifetime off D-backs starter Zack Greinke. Gerardo Parra, who is 1-for-27 over his past eight games, gets the start and bats sixth in part due to his experience playing at Chase Field and his 12-for-41 (.293) career mark against Greinke.
"I think the simplest point was it was a little bit of a matchup thing with Greinke," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We wanted a left-handed bat in there, and even in left field here with Gerardo's experience playing in this ballpark. As the game moves on, having Ian on the bench is a weapon for us to do a couple different things. The versatility he brings offensively with the bat, and also to pinch-run or his ability to play the outfield or first base. That's going to be important for us."
Mark Reynolds, Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez are in Colorado's lineup against Greinke, as the threesome has combined for 13 home runs in 102 at-bats off the right-hander. Gonzalez, who hit. 377 in September, slides into the No. 3 slot ahead of NL MVP Award candidate Nolan Arenado.
"I think it's just a function of CarGo swinging the bat," Black said. "I like the fact that the lineup is broken up a bit with left-right-left-right, then a couple righties and Parra. For me, it just looked right. That's how we envisioned it."
1. Charlie Blackmon, CF
- DJ LeMahieu, 2B
- Carlos Gonzalez, RF
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Trevor Story, SS
- Gerardo Parra, LF
- Mark Reynolds, 1B
- Jonathan Lucroy, C
- Jon Gray, P
1. David Peralta, LF
- Ketel Marte, SS
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- J.D. Martinez, RF
- Jake Lamb, 3B
- A.J. Pollock, CF
- Daniel Descalso, 2B
- Jeff Mathis, C
- Zack Greinke, P
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com.