The National League West will be represented well this evening as the Padres and Dodgers clash in Game 1 of the NLDS. Colorado had their fair share of struggles against both this year, but Rockies fans can still enjoy some baseball with familiar faces.
The two best records in the National League will face off in the divisional round. Top seeds were reserved for divisional winners, or else the Padres would have been the NL’s two seed and wouldn’t line up against the Dodgers so early.
The Rockies stormed Los Angeles from September 4-6 and took two of three games from the Dodgers. It would prove to be the only regular season series the Dodgers would lose in 2020, and it came at a time where the Rockies were fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Rockies nearly swept the three-game set, but squandered an eighth-inning 6-5 lead to open the series.
The first time the Rockies saw the Padres this year, Colorado picked up two of three. It would prove to be the only series on the year the Rockies would take from San Diego, as the Padres picked up three of four in late August and would later sweep the Rockies in the third and final meeting.
San Diego’s last postseason appearance was in 2006, with soon-to-be Giants manager Bruce Bochy at the helm. Bud Black took over the reigns in 2007 and his squad fell to the Rockies in the infamous NL tiebreaker.
The Dodgers and Padres will square off in an American League ballpark while both of their home ballparks are used for ALDS action. Every postseason matchup (current or potential) featuring an NL West team this year will take place at newly-opened Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers. It is also reported that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the forthcoming NLCS and World Series scheduled in Arlington.
Colorado helped open Globe Life Field with two exhibition games in late July, followed by the opening series with the Rangers. The Rockies picked up two wins in the three-game regular season set, but lost the first matchup in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel.
Meanwhile on the American League front, old friends Adam Ottavino and D.J. LeMahieu are frequenting a ballpark they first familiarized themselves with during their time in the NL West. The Yankees and Rays opened their ALDS series at Petco Park on Monday, while the Athletics and Astros opened theirs at Dodger Stadium. The other postseason matchup, featuring the Braves and Marlins, will open this afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
No teams in the AL or NL Central remain in the postseason; with the reformatted schedule in 2020, the Rockies faced half of the teams still standing.
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RoxPile’s Noah Yingling forecasts some potential additions to the Colorado bullpen after the Rockies posted a 6.77 ERA in relief this year. He mentions José Álvarez (LHP, Phillies, 31 years old), Pedro Báez (RHP, Dodgers, 32) and Anthony Bass (RHP, Blue Jays, 32), among others.
If Colorado elects to play the long game with roster decisions, it may be dangerous to commit money to relievers approaching their mid-30’s. It could prove favorable to bring in someone with ample experience, however, and have them anchor the bullpen for younger arms to come.
Patrick Saunders published this article on Sunday, taking a dive into the Rockies’ infield status. He goes around the horn and assesses 2020 performance, mentioning Nolan Arenado’s offensive woes and the contract uncertainty of Trevor Story moving forward.
Saunders furthered his season-in-review series with an outfield analysis on Monday. He says one of the “big questions” pertaining to the Rockies outfield core is whether Kevin Pillar will re-sign with the Rockies. He further addresses David Dahl’s struggles in 2020, Raimel Tapia as Colorado’s “most-improved player,” and the “hit-and-miss development” of Sam Hilliard.
“On Sunday, Padres’ manager Jayce Tingler told the media that decisions about both his pitching rotation and the roster status of his top two starters, Dinelson Lamet and deadline addition Mike Clevinger, would have to wait until the last possible moment.”
Meanwhile, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will roll out starters Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw for the first two games of the NLDS. Each arm made one start a piece against the Rockies this year, pitching a combined 13 innings of two-run baseball.
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