We’ve got 30 games left to play in the 2018 season. The first 23 of these are against our NL West competitors. Thirteen are against the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers. This is a time that will really matter, as the race for the NL West is impossibly close. Starting pitching will likely have a huge impact, and the decisions are already starting to come in. Tyler Anderson was originally lined up to start on Saturday, but given his recent performance, he was pulled from that start and will probably start later on. These are tough choices, but making them could be the difference between hanging up the jerseys on September 30 or finding a way into Rocktober. Bud Black will have to make some rough calls, but when it comes down to it, our best options need to be the ones on the mound. The roster expansion will also give the Rockies some alternatives in terms of pinch hitting. On a Rockies team where the offense is a little lackluster, the pitching that we’ve seen from Kyle Freeland or late-summer Jon Gray is what could save the day.
The starting pitching will certainly make a difference for the pennant race, but the bullpen will have to find a way to deliver. Given what we’ve seen thus far this season, we’re likely to have some real nail-biters. Bud Black is optimistic about where the bullpen sits, after a roller coaster of a year. It’s been difficult, with Adam Ottavino providing the only consistent good performance. The addition of Seunghwan Oh and the solid performance of the team as a whole has everything looking up. Wade Davis has had six blown saves, but he has also had 36 saves, and the Rockies still have faith in him.
Three weeks ago, the Rockies stood at third in the NL West, 2.5 games behind both the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers. Going into Thursday night’s game, they’re only a half game behind the D-Backs. The timing works out well as the Rockies enter into a four-game series against the Padres, who are sitting at last in the NL West. So what’s changed since August 10th? What have the Rockies been doing differently? First, the Rockies won some close games against the Dodgers. Then they swept the Braves, a +.500 team, and then they brought back Matt Holliday. Finally, we cannot forget Ryan McMahon’s grand slam. It’s hard to say what has changed specifically, but the Rockies have had some great moments that have brought them to where they are now. Now we’ll have to see if they can keep this up.
While cheering on the Rockies over the Padres, we’re also keeping an eye on the Dodgers-Diamondbacks. The Dodgers were 4.5 games behind the Diamondbacks a week ago. After sweeping both the Padres and the Rangers, and with the Diamondbacks losing a couple of games, the Dodgers are right back in the race for the NL West. We’ll see quite the matchup over the next four games.