If there may be a signature turning point of this season, in terms of the Colorado Rockies playoff hopes, it may have been the early September road series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. It came on the heels of a horrid and heartbreaking homestand where the Rockies got swept by the Diamondbacks, killing the Rockies chances at home field advantage for the Wild Card game while also losing two of three to the San Francisco Giants. The Rockies lead in the second Wild Card slot was just a half a game over the Brewers. Then, they went on the road and not only swept the Dodgers (who supposedly weren’t going to lose another game this season), and split with the Diamondbacks. The Rockies got a bit of their groove back after that road trip. They probably could’ve won a few more games here and there, but they still had a winning record of .556 for the month of September.
Meanwhile, Schoenfield puts all this into the context of his post where he notes that the Rockies offense underperformed and the pitching staff was riddled by injuries to start the season, yet they still persevered, a far cry from last year’s Rockies record of 75-87. Even better, a lot of the Rockies talent is young and cost controlled, especially on the pitching front, so there’s a decent chance the Rockies can keep their success going for a few more years at least. To that, credit needs to be given to Jeff Bridich for building in that kind of depth to get the team to the playoffs. Also, let’s not minimize the idea that the Rockies would not have made the playoffs this year without the critical deadline acquisitions of Pat Neshek and Jonathan Lucroy who played well enough upon arrival that they may be the reason the Rockies clinched with a day to spare. Thanks to Bud Black as well for managing that depth so that the Rockies not only have a winning season, but appear to be pretty well rested for Rocktober 2017!
As Kevin Henry writes, it’s been a wild kind of season where it seemed like the Rockies might never lose (or win) another game. After all is said and done though they won more than eleven other teams in the National League. These moments don’t come around that often and sometimes not even with players that are fun to root for. Thanks Rockies!
I’ll admit it was an awkward kind of a clinch. For most of the afternoon, it seemed the Wild Card fate would be in the Rockies hands as the Milwaukee Brewers jumped to an early 6-0 lead against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the Cardinals battled back to win the game with ex-Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio giving his old team a hand by shutting down the Brewers in the ninth inning just an hour before the Rockies game was supposed to start. Thankfully, Colorado weather intervened, though this time not to dampen moods, but just to give the Rockies enough time to celebrate in the clubhouse before the game started. Kudos as well to the Rockies social media crew for keeping fans online and on the park updated with video of the celebration and managing an interview with Carlos Gonzalez before the game started.
As for the game against the Dodgers itself, which suddenly became meaningless September baseball (for a good reason!), the Rockies didn’t lose focus. They got the offense going against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and had a good pitching performance from German Marquez before manager Bud Black decided to give the Rockies regulars a rest. In other words, in a game that could’ve gone on autopilot was still played well. Of course, they’ll need to keep that focus for their one game playoff against the Diamondbacks but it’s a good sign.
Relive the madness and the gladness in this photo blog from the Denver Post.