Thursday Morning Rockpile:

8-5
4-9
8-11
7-12
7-12
8-11
8-11
4-15

8-6

For the first time since Jim Leyland was our manager, the Rockies are on pace to beat the Dodgers in a season series. Unlike that 1999 season, or any other in our history, this time around we also have winning records so far against two other division opponents, and at 7-8 with three games left, at least an outside chance to finish with a winning record against the Padres. We still have four left against LA and three against the D-backs (8-7) to finish the job, but that's one of this year's brightest statistics to me. It also is a little bittersweet considering that even with a possibility of winning records against the entire division, we could wind up in third place anyway.

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Passing the Dodgers is nice and we have to finish the sweep today, given we play three in LA next week, but the Padres and Phillies still loom ahead of us in this frantic Wild Card chase. While our chances got slightly better yesterday, they're still very slim, albeit there are reasons to have a little hope that we can still pass the two teams remaining ahead of us. Philadelphia might be the most difficult of the two. The Phillies head into RFK for four games starting today with the Nationals, who they are 7-4 on the season against. They have seven out of their last ten against Washington, and three at home against the Braves, which is easier than our slate of Dodgers, Padres and D-backs or the Pods' Pirates, Rockies, Giants and Brewers (at Milwaukee -the best home team in the league this year) matchups.

Washington does have a winning record at home this year, so let's pray they take three of four and then hope it cascades into an unlikely late stumble from Philly in that last homestand. Meanwhile, we need to win today, and then take four of six on the West Coast road trip, including at least two against the Padres. With Milwaukee chasing the Cubs, it's not a stretch to see them taking at least two more in the final series. That's four L's for SD, but we likely need them to have seven, which means the other three have to come in some combination from the Giants, Pirates, and either a sweep by us at Petco or Milwaukee at Miller Stadium.

That is not likely. It would be semi-miraculous, in fact, but storybook seasons and improbable comebacks are part of what make this sport so alluring, let's hope it's ready to happen to us.

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I know I'm not the only one who thought of something different than what the story actually says with the side-bar headline: "McGwire has hand in Holliday's hitting", and even the association will unfortunately lead some idiots to have a tainted view of Matt, but Big Mac's tip seems to have paid off.

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