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Friday Rockpile: The Iron Giants

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"Election" discussion is in THIS THREAD.

No, it's not real politics.

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Our 7 game win streak (with a little bit of a contribution from Philadelphia's return to form) has steadily allowed us to gain significant ground on two playoff leaders: divisional San Diego and wild card Atlanta. One team, however, has matched pace with us this past ten days: San Francisco.

Other than our three game series against them in a couple weeks, the remaining six days on the homsestand represent the easiest time to try and gain ground upon them. Both teams play San Diego, and both teams play bottom feeders of the division: we net the Diamondbacks in a series starting today, while the Giants draw the floundering Dodgers. As much as the Dodgers have been letting us down lately in their lack of spoilage of teams ahead of us, we still have the easier schedule this week, considering a), all of our games are at home, and b) our history against the Padres this year.

Of course, SD beating SF can also cause problems for us as well. With that series, I feel it's best to see where the chips fall without even trying to root for one team or the other, while we ensure we pound up the Diamondbacks as much as we possibly can. A 10 game winning streak sounds nice, but our performance against Arizona this year has been mediocre at best.

This series against Arizona will be the first time we've played a "bad" team since we played, well, Arizona (I don't count the Dodgers because they weren't exactly a bottom feeding team then, plus the Dodgers are never a bad team when they play us) last month  You know, back when the season was over and all that jazz? Remember? As you may recall, we lost that series 2-1, scoring only five runs in three games. While we have an upper hand this time playing at Coors Field, we absolutely must allow ourselves to stay at the level we've been playing at for the past week, and not sink as we already have many times before. We just beat two cold but capable division leading teams. We can better be able to handle anyone.

After that, the Giants may gain the scheduling upper hand. Their opponents include a series against the Dodgers whom they've knocked around like punching bags, whereas we still have six games against our overwhelmingly difficult Dodger opponents. The Giants also line up in two extra-divisional series matchups against the Cubs and Brewers. While the Cardinals don't look to be impossible, they're still a bigger hill to climb than the other two teams. Still, with two series left against each of the two weakest teams in the division, our schedule shouldn't be that much harder than theirs, if at all. And yet, it seems the opposite.

Point? Take advantage now. The Giants' two most important and difficult series are going to be their final series against the Padres, and their series against us. We, meanwhile, are still under pressure to overcome LAD 6 times, SD 3 times as well as SF three times. And we're farther behind.

Stay on it, people. Also, learn how to beat the Dodgers. Everyone else can do it. But don't forget how to beat the Padres in the process.

Links after the jump.

The A+ level Modesto Nuts won their second playoff game yesterday behind prospect Juan Nicasio. The only other active minor league team, the Casper Ghosts, finished their season with a loss. However, some of our minor leaguers will be competing in the Pan Am Games this Fall, namely Jordan Pacheco, Bruce Billings and Brad Eldred. The tournament is scheduled to last October 1-10, so if Pacheco and Billings are still playing by then, they'll be able to report just in time to begin play in the Arizona Fall League, which starts October 12th, with the Scottsdale Scorpions. This story is from Inside the Rockies' Jack Etkin.

The Toronto Blue Jays make their second waiver claim from the Rockies since the 2009 season (the first being Mike McCoy last offseason) and have added Taylor Buchholz to their ranks (this particular coverage of the story is also from Etkin). Buccholz's designation for assignment, while a surprise, does free up some space for players whose roster flexibility could have squeezed them out of contention, like Matt Reynolds and Matt Daley, to make a case for joining the team out of the gate next year.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post covers yesterday's game, with special emphasis on Chris Nelson's thievery.

"I knew I was going to make it." - Chris Nelson

I love this guy!

This also made me laugh:

"I don't think I have ever lost a game like that." - Dusty Baker

If it helps, Dusty, I don't think we've ever won a game like that either.

Renck also confirms for us that Jeff Francis will be activated to fill Aaron Cook's next start this coming Monday against San Diego. Francis, who is not fully stretched out, will be good for about 75-80 pitches at best. Thankfully, the roster expansion leaves us with plenty of relievers to back him up.

Finally, MLB.com's Thomas Harding shares his notes, which include stories on the recent success of Esmil Rogers and Miguel Olivo.