With the MLB playoffs set to begin on September 29th, we are now less than three weeks away from postseason baseball. With the home stretch upon us, it’s safe to say the first place Dodgers are out of reach for the Rockies and the second place Padres are making their way towards that territory. As a result, the Rockies postseason hopes seem to hang on the two Wild Card spots up for grabs in the National League.
After losing 105 games in 2019, nobody had high expectations for the Marlins in 2020. Add in the fact that the Marlins fell victim to the first MLB Covid-19 outbreak as well as the largest (to this point) and it’s nothing short of phenomenal that they find themselves in the thick of this playoff race. The young pitching has mostly carried this team and that’s something the Rockies would hope to see falter in the coming weeks if they hope to catch them.
The second wild-card currently, the division rival Giants may be the easier team to catch. They’re looking at a relatively tough schedule the rest of the way, that includes series against the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics. Their second to last matchup of the year is a four game set with the Rockies which could have huge playoff implications depending on how the teams perform until that point.
The New York Mets have the pitching talent to make a push but their schedule includes games against many of the top teams in baseball: The Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, and the on-the-up Philadelphia Phillies. It seems like the Brewers pose the bigger threat to the Rockies. Their best shot to turn things around and make the playoffs rests on the shoulders of Christian Yelich returning to MVP form. Early season struggles for Yelich have turned into a season-long slump as he’s hit just .213 this year. The problem is, we all know he’s talented enough to turn it on and drag this Brewers team to the postseason. If that ends up happening, let’s hope it is negated by a similar tear from Nolan (more on that later)
Any article that compares the Rockies to last season’s World Series winning Nationals is going to shoot its way to the top as one of my favorites of the day. Bleacher Report went ahead and made the case for every MLB team (within reasonable contention status) and had two primary focuses for the Rockies.
- Some of the pitching - Germán Márquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela have combined for a 3.87 ERA this year. If they can keep that rolling they could help carry this team deep into the playoffs
- Some of the hitting - Three hitters to go along with the three pitchers mentioned above represent the majority of the Rockies’ hope at the plate: Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado. No surprises there, of course, but if these three can play like they’re capable, they have the star-power to drag the Rockies through the playoffs. The big if here is the resurgence of Nolan Arenado, which is something we may be on the cusp of...
On Tuesday, Nolan Arenado broke a 15-game home run drought with a blast in San Diego (his first of the season away from Coors Field) and followed it up with a double in what was pretty much the only positive from a 14-5 loss to the Padres. In his last 13 games, Arenado has had his best stretch at the plate with an average of .360 and an OBP of .407. Arenado will be the first to admit to his struggles, but his strong work ethic and attitude are pushing him to bust out.
“I know when I’m right. But right now, I’m just trying to battle and grind it out.”
If Nolan keeps battling and building on that .360 13 game stretch, the odds the Rockies make the playoffs will start going way up. Vintage Nolan, show yourself down the stretch here please.
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