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What happened since the Wild Card win over the Cubs?

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Rockies news and links for Saturday, October 3, 2020

Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of the Rockies unforgettable, thrilling 13-inning win over the Chicago Cubs in the 2018 Wild Card game. What a marvelous day in Rockies history. Kyle Freeland threw 6.2 innings allowing zero runs and just four hits and Tony Wolters earned himself a place in Colorado sports history books by knocking in the game-winning RBI with a single in the 13th. The fact that it was his first hit in about a month made the moment even sweeter. The trajectory of this club has been mostly down since then.

They followed up that epic win with a quick sweep at the hands of the Brewers in the NLDS, a 71-91 record in 2019, and a 26-34 record in the 60-game COVID-shortened season. Sure there have been some good moments: they were 40-34 and in a Wild-Card spot in June of 2019, and started 2020 a phenomenal 12-3. The fact of the matter is, not a lot has gone right since the night many thought the Rockies were announcing themselves on a national stage.

Now, it’s tough to say exactly where the Rockies are headed now. Nolan Arenado expressed discontent with the front office this past offseason, and despite not having his best year at the plate, was outspoken about what it would mean if the Rockies didn’t make the playoffs in 2020. Trevor Story and Jon Gray are free agents at the end of next year, zero parts of the three-pronged “super bullpen” remain with the Rockies, and David Dahl and Ryan McMahon did not make the progress they were expected to make this year.

The Rockies owners and management have not yet spoken about plans for the future, but something big needs to happen with this club. Either they tear it all down and enter a rebuild or they go out and make some moves to bolster the line-up around a very strong core and get this team back to contention. While there is clearly a choice that sounds the better of the two here, there’s actually a third option, that in my opinion, is by far the worst. The club could chalk the difficulties of this year up to all the bizarre changes that came with the 2020 season, and say they believe they can make the playoffs with the team they have. Please, please, let it not be this one.

Rockies need much more production from their catchers in 2021 | Denver Post ($)

One area where the Rockies could use a boost next year? Cacher. The guys behind the plate for the Rockies hit only two homers in 2020 and ranked 28th in the MLB in OPS, .551. Tony Wolters speaking towards the end of the season discussed his desire to step up at the plate in 2021. “I want to be that spark for the team, where I get on base all of the time; get on base for the guys at the top of the order.” It’s unlikely the Rockies are willing to put down the cash, but J.T. Realmuto will be a free agent this year. His .840 OPS and 11 home runs in 2020, would serve as a colossal upgrade for Bud Black and the Rockies, especially if you factor in the Coors Field effect. Now that I got you drooling over J.T. at high altitude, let me remind you that that is almost certainly not happening. But hey, the Rockies catchers only had one error this year...so that’s good.

Miami Marlins sweep Chicago Cubs, now 7-0 all time in playoff series | ESPN

Last week, I wrote about how amazing it was that the Marlins made the playoffs. Today I get to write about how amazing it is that they swept the Cubs and advanced to the NLDS after losing 105 games last year. This team is a ton of fun to watch and it would be the most 2020 thing possible if they rode this wave all the way to a World Series title. With the Rockies at home, I was on the hunt for a team to root for this postseason and if I’m being honest, it wasn’t all that difficult. The team has only played in the postseason twice before this year, but they’ve turned those appearances into two World Series titles. Hop on board the Miami Marlins bandwagon with me my friends, let’s make it three for three!