Zack Greinke Arizona Diamondbacks
Pictured: Zack Greinke pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 29, 2017 in Kansas City. Getty Images

Two years ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks gave Zack Greinke the highest salary in baseball history to pitch in games just like this. The right-hander takes the mound Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies in the 2017 NL Wild-Card Game, looking to earn a spot in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It's because Arizona is at home with their ace on the hill that they are favored over their NL West rivals in the winner-take-all game. The Diamondbacks have -168 odds to survive and advance, via OddsShark, and the visiting Rockies are +158 underdogs.

After struggling in his first year with the team, Greinke has returned to the form that landed him one of the most lucrative contracts in MLB history. He finished second among NL starters with 17 wins, fourth with a 1.07 WHIP and sixth with a 3.20 ERA.

Greinke pitched poorly in his playoff debut six years ago, but he’s been terrific in October ever since. With six postseason starts between 2013 and 2015 as a member of the Dodgers, Greinke posted a 2.40 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP.

If Colorado has one edge in Wednesday’s Wild-Card Game, it might be their familiarity with Greinke. The Rockies have faced Arizona’s ace five times in 2017, though they have hit just .229 in those games as Greinke’s posted a 3.41 ERA. Greinke gave up two runs while letting five Rockies reach base in seven innings on Sept. 11 when he last faced Colorado’s lineup.

Greinke will have to face a lineup that includes two NL MVP candidates. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon finished the regular season tied for third in the league with 37 home runs. Arenado’s 130 RBI were second only behind Giancarlo Stanton, and Blackmon won the NL batting title with a .331 average.

Arenado has a .277 lifetime average against Greinke in 47 at-bats, and Blackmon is hitting .265 in 49 at-bats. Neither player has homered off the two-time MLB ERA leader.

If Greinke pitches the way he has for most of the season, Colorado will be relying on Jon Gray to keep them in Wednesday’s game. Gray has just 58 career starts in the majors, and he’ll be making his first-ever playoff appearance in Arizona.

Gray pitched to a 3.67 ERA over 20 starts, really coming into his own over the final two months of the season. The 25-year-old had a 2.44 ERA in August and September, and he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last 13 starts.

Gray has a 3.50 ERA against the Diamondbacks in three starts this year. In Arizona on Sept. 12, Gray beat the Diamondbacks by striking out 10 batters and surrendering two runs in seven innings. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona’s best hitter, is hitless in 11 at-bats against Gray.

Maybe Colorado’s MVP candidates will step up and find a way to get to Greinke. Gray has been terrific over the last two months, and it’s possible that he could best Arizona’s ace on one night.

The Diamondbacks, however, are the better team with six more regular-season wins. They’ve got the better starting pitcher taking the mound, and they are the smart pick in the 2017 NL Wild-Card Game.

Arizona over Colorado, 2-1