Ask yourself this: on January 29, when the Rockies’ universe seemed to be collapsing, would you have ever believe the post-Arenado Rockies would even have a chance at catching the San Diego Padres this year?
The Rockies will pass the Padres in the National League West if:
- Colorado finishes 9-3
- San Diego finishes 3-10
They have now gone 5-11 in September. San Diego is now 3.5 games removed from a wildcard berth, and their postseason odds have been all but completely ravaged.
After a three-game sweep by the Cardinals over the weekend, San Diego is beginning to see the nails placed in their coffin. Dugout conflicts, dropped cans of corn and a missed deadline deal for Max Scherzer seem to have decimated the morale at Petco Park, and hope seems to be fleeting only further.
Meanwhile, the Rockies have gone 10-7 in September and are threatening to take over third place in the NL West.
A quick look at the schedules will show this might actually happen.
The road ahead: San Diego
Every single team on the remainder of the Padres schedule is either 1. a division leader, or 2. the Dodgers.
Giants (3), Braves (4), Dodgers (3), Giants (3).
3-10 is not entirely out of the question in this stretch. The Giants and Dodgers will continue to try and fight their way out of the wild card game, while Atlanta is a mere two games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL East. It’s safe to say none of these opponents will be letting off the gas any time soon.
The road ahead: Colorado
The Rockies will see two contenders and two bottom feeders at the end of this season.
Dodgers (3), Giants (3), Nationals (3), Diamondbacks (3).
Nine of the 12 remaining games on the Rockies’ schedule will come at Coors Field, where Colorado holds a 45-27 record. All nine games are in succession, beginning tonight.
While road struggles have been the biggest downfall of the team this year, the only remaining road series is against the D-Backs. Arizona has already elapsed the 100-loss mark.
The Rockies will be able to capitalize on some extra momentum from Larry Walker Weekend this Friday-Sunday, as the number 33 will be retired and the ballpark will surely have some extra life.
It will be tough to go 9-3 in this stretch, but it isn’t completely out of the picture.
Who would have thought?
Let’s face the reality: the Rockies were not projected to do much of anything this season. The effort set forth by San Francisco has made the NL West an even tougher division to come out of, and the Nolan Arenado-sized hole at third base was a cry for help before the season even began.
Let’s take a moment to be optimists: the Rockies were projected to lose 102 games this year (per the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA projections). Not only have they avoided that mark entirely, but this is a team that has threatened to finish close to .500 if they catch fire in the final two weeks of the season.
This optimism isn’t speaking on the long-term direction of the franchise, which is a different matter. We are still unaware of a long-term general manager, the farm system continues to rank low, and a lack of selling at the trade deadline did not exactly set up for the future. There is still a lot to be inspired by, and the present moments of this year have been nothing short of fascinating. Mix in an All-Star Game hosting—awarded during the season—and we’re a long way from our hopes and dreams flooding to St. Louis in late January.
The surprising win-loss record, the All-Star Game, and the eased seating restrictions from COVID-19 have all combined to give Rockies fans a lot more than they may have bargained for this year.
Catching the Padres is just the next thing on the horizon.
One last thing
Remember that rainout in Atlanta on Sept. 16?
San Diego has 13 games remaining in the 2021 regular season. Colorado has 12 scheduled, but if the Atlanta Braves’ playoff status can change with one game, the Rockies will return to Atlanta for a final game on Monday, Oct. 4.
If the game isn’t necessary, the NL West third place could come down to a half-game.
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We’ve got minor league postseason action today! Congratulations to the Low-A Fresno Grizzlies and High-A Spokane Indians for their appearances in their respective championships. Kevin Henry of Rox Pile walks us through some details for these five-game series and how each team got there.
“In an interesting twist, both Rockies affiliates will take on affiliates of the San Francisco Giants for the title, bringing a National League West rivalry even deeper into the farm systems.”
The Rockies almost avoided Mad Max, but it looks like he’ll be making his way to the Coors Field mound on Thursday’s getaway game. He’s throwing extremely well right now and we’ll leave it at that. His last appearance in Denver was his start in the All-Star Game.
On the farm
José Mujica made his 21st start of the season (all with Albuquerque), allowing five earned runs in five innings. His season ERA now sits at an 8.97, and he will presumably make two more starts this year to keep his figure below nine.
Mujica cleared waivers in early September, but his runs allowed have exceeded his innings pitched this month and his spring training invite status could be in tough standing.
Albuquerque capitalized on three scoreless relief innings, one each from Tate Scioneaux, Antonio Santos and Ryan Castellani (his first relief appearance this year). Leadoff-hitting Wynton Bernard was the only Isotope to record multiple hits (2-for-4), while Greg Bird’s double was the team’s only extra-base hit.
Sugar Land’s pitching staff recorded 14 strikeouts to Albuquerque’s seven.
- Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats season officially over
- High-A: Spokane Indians begin best-of-five championship vs. Eugene Emeralds tonight
- Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies begin best-of-five championship vs. San Jose Giants tonight
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