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Rock mining week 20: the road to 99 (or less)

How this team could avoid 100 losses.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Two days late and a couple of dollars short.  If anyone noticed this article missing on Sunday, I apologize but I was too busy going to Todd Helton day and then driving 800 miles home.  But that is a different story that may get told in a fan post soon.  Today, with renewed optimism from a great weekend, I look at how this team can stay away from setting new records in team futility.

It was just last week that I said this team was likely to lose 100-110 games.  Getting swept by San Diego sure didn't help the Rockies' cause, but winning three of four this weekend makes less than 100 losses seem possible.  They have to finish the year 14-24 to avoid triple digits in the loss column and stay away from being labeled the worst team in the history of the Colorado Rockies.  Here is how that can happen:

19-20 August vs. KC Royals: The first match-up doesn't look good for the Rockies, with James Shields pitching against Tyler Matzek.  The second game is Jorge De La Rosa at home.  While the Royals' Danny Duffy might be having a good year, he will lose to Jorge at home.  Record 50-76

22-24 August vs. Miami: The Rockies would love to give some revenge for the way they were treated in Miami to open the season but their rotation just is not set up well for this series.  Lyles will get the middle game but Morales and Flande will give up losses. Record 51-78.

25-28 August at SF Giants: Not a good place to play for the Rockies but the match-ups actually are split.  Matzek will get a win in the first game of the series and Lyles will end the series with a win.  However, facing Bumgarner without Cargo is a loss and Tim Hudson won't lose to Franklin Morales.  Record 53-80.

29-31 August at Arizona: No fun for the Rockies in the desert.  Three straight losses in this series. Record 53-83.

1-3 September vs. SF Giants: With the redo of the canceled game making this a four game series, the Rockies will face the Giants eight times in ten days.  Everyone except Jorge will get a chance to pitch in this series and that is not good for the Rockies.  Neither is the fact that rosters can expand and the Giants will be trying to catch the Dodgers.  One win total in this series will make you think 100 losses is a sure thing.  Record 54-86.

5-7 September vs. SD Padres:  With Jorge starting this series, the Rockies get sweet revenge for their past road trip to Petco Park.  A sweep of the Padres here makes everyone feel a little better.  Record 57-86.

8-10 September at. NY Mets:  Its the Mets, but these are also the Rockies on the road.  One victory in the series gets them closer to the goal.  Record 58-88.

12-14 September at St. Louis: The Cardinals in a playoff hunt at home in September.  Ugh, Record 58-91.

15-17 September vs. LA Dodgers: LA will come into town with playoff number down to three.  They get one game closer but that is all.  Record: 60-92.

18-21 September vs. Arizona: The dreaded Snakes come to town and I predict a split four-game series.  Record 62-94.

22-24 September at SD Padres:  The Rockies roll into San Diego needing one game to stay away from 100 losses and get it on my b-day (not saying which one it is).  Record 63-96.

26-28 September at LA Dodgers: With the NL West wrapped up, the Dodgers will be resting some players...they still are better than the Rockies but Colorado pulls of one game in the series with a September call-up getting the relief.  Record 64-98.

There you have it, the Rockies will tie their mark from 2012 and avoid 100 losses.  Can this happen?  Sure, but will it?  We will have to wait and see.

The Good

In a season like this, Todd Helton's retirement was a welcome respite.  The ceremony was great, the speeches were well done, and his daughter's words brought a tear to my eye.  If Todd doesn't get into the Hall of Fame, then I will probably never visit the place.

The Bad

Winning three of four, including a double header on Todd Helton day makes it easy to forget, but this team looked awful in San Diego.  Lack of timely hitting, base running mistakes, and a bullpen that couldn't keep the team close all led to getting swept by a team that is not better talent-wise than the Rockies.

The Ugly

I look forward to watching Yohan Flande pitch next year...out of the bullpen.  While his .146 batting average against vs. lefties will be a thing of beauty and he can get through some right-handers as well, he cannot pitch through a lineup three times.  Opponents OPS goes from .591 in his first 30 pitches to .806 in pitches from 31-45.  Worse yet, after that it goes to a whopping 1.278 through pitch number 60.  He cannot be used more than four innings without expecting him to blow up.  It is the main reason that his record is 0-5 and the team is 1-7 in his starts.