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The stretch to the break can make or break the season

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, June 27, 2022

For the Rockies, traditionally, there’s no place like home. Not counting the pandemic shortened 2020 season, the last time the Rockies ended a year with a losing record at Coors Field was 2015. Of those six years without a losing record at home, only two have resulted in an overall winning team. Last year’s team had a .593 winning percentage at Coors. Be it the humidor, be it the Bridich Barrier, be it the acreage of the field, the Rockies have figured out how to win in Denver.

This year’s team has a .500 winning percentage at home. Boy, do they need to regain that winning feeling of seasons passed now.

Returning home today to start a series against the NL West-leading Dodgers, the Rockies are looking to rebound after a 1-5 roadtrip which saw them slip to 11 games below .500 overall. MLB’s Thomas Harding covered this upcoming homestand in his column yesterday, highlighting the team’s lack of long balls as a reason for the recent lack of success. The importance of the Dodgers series, followed by another 14 games against NL West opponents and a series against the Pirates leading up to the All-Star break cannot be understated. Let’s run through some scenarios on how these last 20 games could go.

If the Rockies are able to maintain their current record of .500 at Coors, and steal a couple games on the road against the Dodgers or Diamondbacks to finish the next 20 games with a 10-10 record, that will put them at 41-52. No team has been under .500 by 11 games at the halfway point and come back to make the playoffs, save the 1973 Mets. Since those Mets were able to secure a division title with just 82 wins, and these Rockies have to play in a division with the likes of the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants that scenario seems unlikely to end in playoff ball, even with the recently expanded postseason.

So, the Rockies need to get hot if they want to stand a chance. A 16-4 record would leave them at 47-46, a game above.500. Unrealistic? Maybe - although they wouldn’t be the first Colorado team to go on a 16-4 run recently. The Rockies have nine of those 20 games upcoming against the Dodgers or Padres. A 5-4 record in those nine games could be considered a success in itself, let alone sweeping the other upcoming series.

On the flip side, if the Rockies continue to fall apart and go 5-15, their record at the break will be 36-57. That winning percentage puts them on pace for roughly 63 wins over the full season, just enough to secure a 99-loss campaign. Hey, it’s not 100. But still, ouch.

If the Rockies are going to be a winning ballclub, what better time to start than now. The management group - see quotes below - seems to think that this team is capable of winning with it’s current construction, and they just haven’t shown their best colors yet. A successful or unsuccessful stretch to the break will go a long way to evaluate whether they’ll even have a second half chance or not.

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Rockies Notes: Bryant, Schmidt, Pitching, Bard | MLB Trade Rumors

The Rockies are now 11 games under .500 and could use some help from their offseason splash, Kris Bryant. Per Thomas Harding, Bryant’s return could be close. He’ll rejoin the team in Denver and could play as soon as tonight. GM Bill Schmidt also offered some insight on the Rockies position as buyers or sellers approaching the trade deadline. Ever the optimist, he said the Rockies are “just thinking about getting back to playing .500 baseball”, and still going “to try to win as many games as we can.” Optimism is surely a quality to be proud of, but it remains to be seen whether this optimism is well-placed or not.

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On the Farm

Triple-A: Las Vegas Aviators 9, Albuquerque Isotopes 8

The Isotopes went up 8-0 early, but couldn’t stop the big inning and eventually lost to the Aviators (OAK). Every batter in the Isotopes lineup recorded a hit. LJ Hatch led the way with three by himself, including a two-run homer in the fourth.

The Aviators tagged starter Ashton Goudeau for four runs, chasing him in the fifth inning, then the bullpen was unable to hold it together. Justin Lawrence entered with a four-run lead in the eighth inning but left with the tying run on base. His relief, Chad Smith, fared no better, ultimately giving up the losing run. Next, the Isotopes will take on the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (HOU).

Double-A: Somerset Patriots 6, Hartford Yard Goats 5

The Yard Goats dropped the first half finale Sunday, losing not only the game to the Patriots (NYY) but also the first half title, which would have guaranteed them a playoff spot. Willie MacIver (no. 28 PuRP) had two hits including a double plus a run scored and an RBI. Niko Decolati scored two runs, one of which was a go-ahead marker in the top of the 10th, but it wasn’t enough as Somerset’s leadoff man in the bottom smacked a walk off two-run bomb. A rehabbing Aroldis Chapman made a relief appearance for the Patriots, striking out Michael Toglia (no. 7 PuRP). The Yard Goats will kick off the second half of their season tomorrow, at home against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (NYM).

High-A: Spokane Indians 8, Everett AquaSox 2

Spokane made the most of their offensive opportunities against the AquaSox (SEA) Sunday, scoring eight times on just five hits to secure a series split. First baseman Grant Lavigne (no. 22 PuRP) had a double, a two-run homer, and a walk - providing almost enough offense by himself to bring home the win, thanks to a solid pitching performance. Andrew Quezada threw six innings of two run ball, then the bullpen (Anderson Bido, Boby Johnson) shut it down from there. The Indians will start the second half on the road Tuesday against the Vancouver Canadians (TOR).

Single-A: Modesto Nuts 4, Fresno Grizzlies 3

The Grizzlies had a late charge yesterday, scoring two runs in the eighth off hits from Juan Guerrero and Braxton Fulford, but it wasn’t enough to close the deficit against the former Rockies affiliate Nuts (SEA). Hunter Goodman (no. 27 PuRP) and Zach Kokoska each had two hits and a run scored, with Goodman also providing an RBI and walk to lead the offense. Defense was an issue for the Grizzlies as they committed three errors, leading to multiple unearned runs scored against starter Mason Green. The Grizzlies wrapped up the first half of the season halfway through the series with Fresno and led the California League. Since then, they’ve dropped the first three games of the second half. They’ll look to rebound Tuesday as they travel to play the Stockton Ports (OAK).

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