D-backs keep eye on wild-card game with Giants in town

PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke will start the National League wild-card game for Arizona on Oct. 4, the Diamondbacks announced Monday.

Water is wet.

Sun rises in east.

Still, how the Diamondbacks and No. 1 starter Greinke, 17-8 with a 3.18 ERA, get there is something else again.

After Arizona clinched the top NL wild-card spot on Sunday and home-field advantage for the winner-take-all wild-card playoff game, manager Torey Lovullo gave most of his regulars a day off on Monday for what wound up being a 9-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He said that will be the exception as the team points to the postseason.

The Giants and Diamondbacks play the middle game of a three-game series Tuesday at Chase Field.

Arizona mainstays Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez, Jake Lamb and David Peralta will play most if not all of the final five regular-season games, Lovullo said.

"It is my thought not to take anything for granted or ho-hum our way through the next several games, because no team is good enough to just turn that switch on and be ready for such an important game," Lovullo said. "It's going to be a dress rehearsal for the most important game of the year."

The rotation, however, will change this week, Lovullo said, as the date for Greinke's next start is finalized.

Greinke was tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday in the finale against San Francisco, but Lovullo said Monday night that the ace would not make that start.

If Greinke started the Wednesday game, he would have six days of rest before the Oct. 4 wild-card game. He has made one start on six days' rest this season, an 8-4 loss at Colorado on June 20 in which he gave up four runs in 7 1/3 innings. The Rockies are the Diamondbacks' most likely wild-card opponent.

So it now appears almost certain that Greinke will start the opener of the final three-game series in Kansas City on Friday, a move that would put Greinke on normal four days' rest for the wild-card game. He is 8-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 14 starts on four days' rest. He is 9-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 14 starts on five days' rest, but that choice is not available because the Diamondbacks do not play Thursday.

"(Greinke) might be the most important piece in this, but we have four other pitchers we have to talk to and walk through certain things with," Lovullo said. "We are trying to do our absolute best to win (the wild-card) game.

"We want to make sure that Zack is in the right place, and we are going to get a lot of input from him. Zack is very good at expressing himself accurately. He knows exactly how he is feeling and exactly where he wants to get to. We would be fools if we didn't rely on his input."

Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray (14-5, 2.95 ERA) is set to face Giants left-hander Matt Moore (6-14, 5.20) on Tuesday.

Ray is 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his past six starts since missing 26 days with a concussion. He is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three starts against the Giants this season, with 24 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. He is 3-1 with a 2.83 in seven starts against San Francisco in his career.

Moore is coming off his best outing of the season, when he threw six shutout innings in a 4-0 victory over Colorado last Thursday. He gave up six hits, struck out six and walked two in his first scoreless outing of the season.

"With that team having a lot to play for right now, and for us to pick up (the win), it feels good," Moore said after the game. "We don't have much (we're) playing for this time of year. For us to go out there and compete and not take no for an answer, I think it says a lot."

Moore is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against Arizona this season, and those are his only career appearances against the Diamondbacks.
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