The Rockies are rolling right now, winners of seven of their last eight games, and in that span have gone from 3.5 games behind in the NL West to just a half-game back. They are very much in the thick of the division title race and find themselves playing some of their best baseball of the year at the most opportune time, like this masterpiece from last night:
Three in the ninth with two outs— Jake Shapiro (@Shapalicious) August 19, 2018
Two in the tenth
The Braves had a 99.6% win expectancy and the Rockies WON.
Colorado has won 7 of 8... UNREAL pic.twitter.com/4IrCz4Tmjo
As Kevin Henry points out in his article, on August 9th—after a crushing ninth inning defeat to the Dodgers (I was in attendance, it was heart-breaking)—the Rockies had a 10.9 percent chance to make the playoffs according to FanGraphs. Entering today, after an amazing ninth inning comeback of their own followed by an unlikely walk-off win by the Padres to defeat the Diamondbacks, the Rockies have a 37.8 percent playoff probability.
A lot can change in a month and a half, and the Rockies need to keep their foot on the gas pedal. They play six more games against Los Angeles and seven more against Arizona, so Colorado has their own Postseason and division title destiny firmly in their own hands— and that’s all you can hope for in August and September.
With only six weeks of baseball left in the regular season and major divisional and wild card battles unfolding for a chance to play Postseason baseball, it’s a good time to check in on the MVP Award race. According to Anthony Castrovince with MLB.com, it’s a crowded race in the National League and many deserving stars are on his list, including Nolan Arenado.
Nolan is ranked number three currently on this list behind... *takes off glasses, cleans them, puts them back on, squints*... Matt Carpenter and Freddie Freeman? *Skeptically flips paper over and turns it around five or six times as if there were a different answer hiding somewhere on the page* Well, I guess that’s what it actually says here.
In all seriousness, those two guys are having terrific seasons and probably deserve to be included in the MVP discussion. But count me in as one who is sick of seeing Nolan discredited by national media—he should absolutely be at the top of this list, especially if the Rockies find themselves in Postseason contention or with their first division title in franchise history secured.
Well I can’t speak for all Rockies fans... but I probably can speak for the majority when I say, that wouldn’t be so bad. It would only be the first time in the past six seasons and fourth time in the past decade that the Dodgers would miss the Postseason, and maybe it’s time for some fresh faces to compete for an NL pennant, eh?
In Kenny Kelly’s post on Beyond the Box Score, he examines the different ways the Dodgers have found themselves in this unprecedented bind. Not only were they projected by PECOTA to have the best record in the NL this season, but they also added MVP-caliber Manny Machado at the trade deadline.
So what happened? Sure, there have been injuries piling up for the boys in blue, and none worse than the loss of Kenley Jansen. But what if it’s not just the Dodgers getting worse, but their competition getting better? Yes, the Dodgers are good, but the Diamondbacks and Rockies just might be coming for them as the teams to beat in the NL West.
It’s no secret anymore—as Thomas Harding points out, Matt Holliday’s bat has come alive for Triple-A Albuquerque and he looks poised to help the Rockies make a playoff push when rosters expand on September 1st (if not sooner). Matt was slashing .370/.473/.652 for the Isotopes entering Saturday, and he hit this mammoth home run on Friday night to boot:
As promised, here is video of Matt Holliday's home run from tonight.— Albuquerque Isotopes (@ABQTopes) August 18, 2018
No report on if the ball has landed quite yet. pic.twitter.com/a43V0DTgSY
At this point, it really isn’t a question of whether or not he’s ready or able to boost this Rockies offense, it’s how they plan on getting him here. It’s easy enough to point out that Garrett Hampson can get sent down for regular at-bats to make room for Holliday on the active roster, but the Rockies also need to add him to the 40-man, which is currently full.
Who will be the casualty of Matt Holliday’s return to glory in purple pinstripes? A likely option is Jerry Vasto, or maybe a DFA for Valaika. Maybe Jeff Hoffman will come down with a mystery ailment worthy of the 60-day DL, or they’ll cut ties with emergency catcher Chris Rabago. What do you think? What would be the best way to get Holliday into this lineup again and crushing dingers during Rocktober 2018?