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Rockies news and links for Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Colorado Rockies just finished a three game series against the San Diego Padres and it did not go well...for San Diego.

The Rockies swept the Friars at home in the final matchup between the two clubs in the 2021 season. Colorado finished with an 11-8 record against their southern California foes. San Diego dropped to 12.0 games behind San Francisco for the division lead and their hold on the second wild card spot over Cincinnati dropped to just one game.

Many in baseball circles have put a pin in this as a specific reason to point to if San Diego does manage to fall out of the playoff picture, and with good reason. While the division lead has been slipping away from San Diego for some time, they have still maintained a strong grip on a wild card spot and, entering the final series at Coors, the Padres’ odds to secure a spot in the playoffs through the wild-card sat at 44.9%. After the three game sweep at the hands of the Rockies, that dropped to 33.6%.

It became very clear early this season that the inconsistencies by the Rockies, especially on the road, would make this a year where the team was not contending for a playoff spot. When out of the playoff hunt, playing the role of spoiler becomes one of the biggest motivators for a team and that title could fit the Rockies quite well. The sweep of San Diego may be the peak of the team playing their part, but the club will have plenty of opportunities to wreak havoc on the ambitions of four other teams down the stretch.

Atlanta Braves

After losing Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season on July 10th, the Atlanta Braves’ 2021 dreams looked snake-bitten. Five weeks and a patented Mets’ collapse later, the Braves are well seated in the playoff picture, leading their division by four games.

Atlanta is in a position to control its own destiny and has playoff odds currently sitting at 88.0%. Their remaining schedule is not entirely kind, however. While layups like Baltimore, Washington and Arizona are on the horizon, the Braves have six games against San Francisco and three against Los Angeles before two three-game sets remaining against Philadelphia and New York, the two teams trailing them in the standings, to finish the season.

However, before those potentially crucial final two series, the team has six games against the Rockies in the first two weeks of September. How the Braves fare in those six games, especially the three on the road at Coors, could seriously cloud their playoff chances.

Philadelphia Phillies

Another benefactor of the Mets’ nose-dive has been Philadelphia, who now sits second in the NL East behind Atlanta. The team’s surge up the standings has taken a hit recently with their playoff odds dropping from 48.8% to 16.1% in the past week, but the team still remains in contention.

One factor in Philadelphia’s favor is a much friendlier schedule than Atlanta’s. Of their 40 remaining games, 30 are against opponents under .500. The Phillies are in a position to take advantage of any slip by Atlanta down the stretch and the Rockies’ six games against the Braves could help Philadelphia creep up on the division lead.

However, in the middle of those two series between Atlanta and Colorado, the Phillies have four games against the Rockies themselves. This series in Philadelphia on September 9-12, along with the two series against Atlanta before and after, could set the Rockies up as a major factor in deciding the NL East.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are a constant thorn in the side of the Rockies. The 2021 season has been no different, as Colorado has gone 3-10 against L.A. and has been outscored 78-49 in their matchups. Colorado is not alone in experiencing the wrath of the Dodgers, as Los Angeles currently sits at 76-46 and is a near lock to make the postseason.

However, their odds to win the division sits at 41.9% so their current ticket to playoffs is most likely through the wild-card route. They do have three more games at home against the division-leading Giants in the first week of September, but that is the last time the teams will meet in the 2021 regular season. Surrounding that series against the Giants is six games with the Rockies, with the final series being three games at Coors Field in the last week of September.

The Dodgers have won the National League West for eight straight seasons and they currently have 2 ½ games to make-up if they want to catch San Francisco. If the Rockies can take the majority of the six remaining games against L.A., that could ruin their pursuit of a ninth straight division title.

Oh, how sweet it would be.

San Francisco Giants

Colorado has struggled against the Giants this season almost as much as they have against the Dodgers. The Rockies are just 4-9 against San Francisco this season, however 10 of those 13 games have been played at Oracle Park so the Giants have mostly beaten up on the road Rockies. But, over the last six weeks of the season, the Rockies will host all six remaining games against the Giants.

The Giants are the Cinderella story this season. Virtually no one predicted them to be a serious playoff contender entering the season, much less be an odds-on favorite to win the division. But as we wind down August, they, like Los Angeles, are a near certainty to make the playoffs and sit at 58.1% odds to win the division.

However, to get there they’ll have to survive six games at Coors Field before the end of the season.

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Colorado Rockies: Peter Lambert on his return to the mound in Spokane | Rox Pile

Peter Lambert pitched in his first professional game since 2019 Wednesday night in Spokane. In a limited outing, Lambert through 32 pitches over two scoreless innings, notching two strikeouts while allowing just one hit and a hit-by-pitch. Kevin Henry caught up with Lambert to discuss how he felt physically and mentally in his first game back since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2020.

After a long journey, Rockies’ Taylor Motter gets another shot at the big leagues | The Denver Gazette

It has been a long road for Taylor Motter to wear a Colorado Rockies uniform. Since being drafted by Tampa Bay in 2011, Motter has gone in and out of numerous major league organizations, a trip through the Indy league ranks and even played over-seas in the KBO League is South Korea. Heading into the 2021 season, Motter wasn’t sure if he’d ever play in the big leagues again, but decided to dedicate himself on giving it another shot. Speaking with Danielle Allentuck, Motter goes over his journey and how rewarding it has been to make it to the game’s highest level once again.

On the farm

Triple-A: Las Vegas Aviators 12, Albuquerque Isotopes 7

Albuquerque’s pitching got roughed up in a road loss in Las Vegas. José Mujica allowed six runs on eight hits in his start before giving way to Antonio Santos. Santos fared worse than Mujica, allowing four runs or four hits before being pulled after recording just two outs. On the bright side, Colton Welker did record three hits in five at-bats and raised his OPS to .998 since returning to game action. Chris Rabago also had three hits, including his second home run of the season.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 5, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 3

The Yard Goats pulled out their 30th win of the season on Friday. Trailing 3-2 after seven innings, Hartford put up three runs in the eighth inning to take the lead for good. The big blow of the inning was a two-run single by Sean Bouchard, his third hit of the game. Bouchard also homered in the third inning, his eleventh of the season, and finished with four runs driven in. David Hill had a solid start for the Yard Goats, allowing one run over five innings pitched with four strikeouts and no walks issued.

High-A: Spokane Indians 11, Hillsboro Hops 3

Spokane’s bats were on fire at home as they took care of the Hops early with a six-run second inning. Eight of the nine Spokane hitter recorded at least one hit and six different hitters drove in at least one run in the double-digit drumming of Hillsboro. Although they put up 15 hits in the game, the Indians did not hit a long-ball in the ballgame but they did record five extra-base hits. While the offense thrived, Will Ethridge keep the Hops’ offense subdued. Over six innings, Ethridge struck out four batters and allowed only two runs.

Low-A: Visalia Rawhide 3, Fresno Grizzlies 2

Fresno fell short on the road in extra innings. The Grizzlies held the lead at 1-0 after the third inning, but was unable to close out the deal. Anderson Pilar was magnificent in his start, striking out eight in five shutout innings with just one hit allowed. That lone hit was all that was on the scoreboard for Visalia until the eighth inning when they were able to tie up the game at one. Fresno put up a run in the tenth on a Bladimir Restituyo single but quickly lost the lead after Robinson Hernandez gave up a leadoff triple to tie the ballgame before surrendering the winning run on a single by the next Rawhide’s hitter. Zac Veen and Eddy Diaz each had two hits in the loss.

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