Cook stellar as Rockies clinch playoff spot, team's patience shines through in season and game

So here's more about the game, here are some key takeaways, 3 up, 3 down style: 

3 (plus one) Up

  1. The Rockies won this one like they've been winning them all season when they're good, by bludgeoning opposing pitchers into submission with their patience. This includes three bases loaded walks, including two by pitcher Aaron Cook. The final pitch tally for the game was 207 for the Brewers, 109 for the Rockies. Not giving away outs, making pitchers bleed for every one they come up with is what makes this offense go when it's working. Cook's efficiency stands as a sharp contrast, as it only took him 85 pitches to breeze through eight innings.
  2. Troy Tulowitzki and Garrett Atkins finished with three hits, Clint Barmes with two (Todd Helton to, but I'm focusing on right handers here). Chris Iannetta also got aboard three times via hit or walk. If the Rockies are to face Philadelphia in the NLDS, and at this point all signs are still pointing that direction, they will need effective right handed hitting beyond Tulo and Yorvit Torrealba. That Atkins, Iannetta and Barmes all up today against a left handed pitcher is a big step. Ryan Spilborghs and Dexter Fowler weren't quite as productive, but there's less a sense of vulnerability now. Against Clayton Kershaw and Randy Wolf this weekend, the Rockies will get two more chances to show this southpaw proficiency is a trend rather than a one and done.
  3. The defense was a smooth, mistake free operation, the team seems in playoff  mode when it comes to executing on that side of the ball. 
  4. Doh, wait, one more up, attendance for the game was 38,098, for the season (unofficially), 2,665,080. It's close, but the Rockies do finish ahead of last season's 2,650,218

 

3 Down

 

  1. Franklin Morales continues to be inconsistent. Dazzling one minute, losing control or leaving hanging pitches the next. We need him to be a weapon, a silver bullet capable of taking down some pretty scary beasts (such as Chase Utley or Ryan Howard) and yet right now, he's a pretty scary beast himself.
  2. There always seems to be an issue when you go from playing a team that's throwing it in for the rest of the season to one that still has something to play for. The Braves were able to take care of the Nationals, who are long left for dead, but couldn't up their level of competition to face the Marlins, who seem to be relishing their spoiler status. The Rockies have to be careful of not falling into the same trap, Milwaukee looked like it wanted the season done last week this series. 
  3. Brad Hawpe redeemed himself quite well with a two run home run in the eighth inning to add some insurance runs, but four strikeouts early leaves the open question of if he's the best left handed hitting Rockies outfielder to start against left handed pitchers. Seth Smith is batting .259/.368/.500 against LHP's in 2009, Carlos Gonzalez, .294/.356/.510. Hawpe is now at .248/.343/.447. 

 

*****

A little about the playoff scenarios, the day's rather undramatic FanGraph, and the Roll Call after the jump.

 

First of all, nothing short of a road sweep over the team with currently the best record in the National League (not to mention one which we currently sport a 3-12 record against on the season) will get the Rockies a lot better than the wild card, let's not pretend that will be easy or even likely. That said though, there are some scenarios that could mean Denver sees more of Rocktober than usual if it does happen.

As things stand now, the Rockies are two games behind Los Angeles, 1.5 games in back of Philadelphia, and even with St. Louis when it comes to the best record in the National League. The Phillies get the Marlins at home while the Cardinals meet up with this Brewers squad that the Rockies just swept at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals are more or less a moot issue in terms of how they finish, if the Rockies sweep the Dodgers, the best they can do is stay even with Colorado and they'd lose the head to head tiebreaker. Philadelphia, on the other hand, would need to lose three out of their last four (including the game underway to the Astros tonight) to fall behind the Rockies, or else Colorado loses in tiebreakers with them. 

One of the more interesting scenarios involves a three way tie between the Rockies, Phillies and Cardinals for the NL's best record at 94-68, in which case, the Phillies would have the home field advantage throughout the playoffs by virtue of their 8-3 record against the other two teams (the Rockies were 8-5), but would draw Los Angeles as a wild card opponent. The Rockies in that scenario would have the home field advantage over the Cardinals in the NLDS and possibly the Dodgers if Los Angeles could win their series against Philly.

The most likely wild card scenario still suggests that the Rockies would have to play Philadelphia, and cede the home field advantage to them, as they hold a similarly dominant record over the Cardinals this season that we have, meaning St. Louis would either actually have to sweep Milwaukee or the Phillies get swept by the Marlins for the Cardinals to move ahead. 

 

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via www.fangraphs.com


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