Despite an impressive win on Thursday, the Rockies remain 11 games back in the NL Wild Card race and 26.5 games out of first place in the NL West. While a fourth consecutive losing season is all but guaranteed, there are some individual milestones Rockies fans can keep an eye out for as August and September grind on.
Of course, there is always the spoiler role to play as well, which can be exciting. The Rockies can look to ruin playoff runs for others and challenge Arizona for fourth place in the NL West to avoid being the final basement dweller.
Here are eight achievements to cheer for in the final two months of the season.
José Iglesias’s quest to be the best Rockies hitter on the road
Through Thursday’s win, when Iglesias went 3-for-5 with two RBI and hit his 39th double of the season, Iglesias is batting .363 on the road. As a team, the Rockies are batting .235 in away games this season, which is tied for No. 17 in MLB this season. It’s a big improvement from the league-worst .217 the Rockies hit away from Coors Field last year. A big reason for that is Iglesias, who towers over the next best road hitter — Brendan Rodgers who is hitting .246. Iglesias has posted 62 hits in 46 road games, including 14 doubles, one homer, and 14 RBI. Iglesias is currently leading the Rockies in average this season overall at .313, which is all the more impressive considering he’s hitting .262 at Coors Field
The Rockies single-season record for away batting average among qualified batters is .362 by Mike Kingery in 1994, a strike-shortened season. He played in 55 games that year and Iglesias is currently at 46. For more on Iglesias’ success on the road, check out Manny Randhawa’s article on MLB.com from late July.
Career RBI milestones
Charlie Blackmon, Randal Grichuk, and Ryan McMahon could be in line to reach 700, 500, and 300 career RBIs respectively. Blackmon is second on the team with 60 RBI this season and only needs nine to hit 700. This is doable by mid-August as Blackmon is averaging one RBI every 6.42 at-bats. Grichuk, who is third on the team in RBI with 53, needs to drive in only eight more runs to reach 500. He’s averaging an RBI every 6.19 at-bats, so this could also be accomplished later this month, depending on how much time he gets in the outfield. McMahon reaching 300 will be the hardest milestone to accomplish as he needs 36 more RBI. After driving in five on Thursday, which included a three-run homer and a two-run double, he could be heating up to make this more realistic. That would be pretty impressive considering he only had 44 RBI through his first 101 games this season.
Nazty career numbers
When it comes to top players in Rockies history, Blackmon has more than earned his way in to the conversation. Chuck Nazty is currently No. 2 in many franchise lists, reflecting longevity and skilled hitting. He won’t reach Todd Helton, but he’s cementing his second place in many categories like: games played (1,365), at-bats (5,212), hits (1,553), and total bases (2567). There are two categories where he’s currently in third place, but that could change by the end of the season. The first is runs scored. Blackmon has 871, which is 21 back of Hall of Famer Larry Walker. Blackmon has 53 runs scored so far this season. He only totaled 76 last year and is having a much better season in 2022, which makes it more likely he’ll hit it. The much less likely runner-up position will be in doubles in team history. Blackmon is third with 281, which is 16 shy of Walker and forever behind Helton’s untouchable at 592.
Blackmon could also climb up one MLB leaderboard: home runs from the leadoff spot. He’s currently ninth with 42, which trails Brady Anderson (44) and Jimmy Rollins (46). Blackmon has started 91 games this season, hitting leadoff in 23 of them. He’s hit four homers this year and would need more leadoff at-bats to make this one possible, but he could continue to climb up the list, especially considering he’s got 16 homers this year after only hitting 13 in 2021.
Márquez notching wins
Even though this has been a disappointing season for Germán Márquez following an outstanding All-Star campaign in 2021, he could still move up some franchise leaderboards. Márquez started the season ranked No. 6 all-time in wins at 54. With six wins in the books in 2022, he’s now at 60 wins, which is No. 4 in team history. Jorge De La Rosa leads the list at 86 and Aaron Cook is second at 74. With his contract keeping him in Colorado through 2024, it’s possible for Márquez to be crowned the Rockies all-time win king. In the more immediate future, if he can notch four more wins this season, he’ll tie Jeff Francis at No. 3.
There are other milestones that are sure to arise over the final 53 games to cheer for and others the Rockies will look to avoid. We’ll save that for another day.
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For the second straight season, Connor Joe has been named the Rockies nominee for the Heart and Hustle award. The award, which “honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game,” is chosen by former MLB players. The players’ work ethic and dedication, on and off the field, are considered by the voters. Previous winners include players like Albert Pujos, Mike Trout, Roy Halladay, and Ozzie Albies won in 2021.
Joe, who AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain announcer Ryan Spilborghs has lovingly dubbed “The greatest Rockie ever,” has become a fan favorite for his smile and attitude on the field and for his knack for getting on base. The mullet also helps. After playing for five different organizations in six years, including the Dodgers twice, Joe finally seemed to be in position to make his Major League debut in 2020. In a physical before spring training with the Dodgers, Joe was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020, battled through chemotherapy, and emerged cancer-free to sign a minor league deal with the Rockies in Nov. 2020.
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On The Farm
For the second straight night, the Isotopes fell in extra innings. After Wynton Bernard hit a sacrifice fly to score D.J. Peterson in the eighth inning to tie the game and send it to extra innings, each team scored one in the 10th. Bret Boswell hit an RBI single for Albuquerque, but the Chihuahuas rallied back with a sac fly in the bottom of the frame. Neither team scored in the 11th, but the Isotopes had a golden opportunity in the 12th. With one out and the bases loaded, they scored one run on a wild pitch, but couldn’t capitalize as Boswell struck out and Jonathan Morales grounded out. That set the stage for El Paso’s Eguy Rosario to hit a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th. Peterson hit two homers in the game and Boswell added another. Zach Neal had a rough start, giving up five runs on seven hits, including a homer, in four innings. Jordan Sheffield, Justin Lawrence, and JD Hammer all threw a scoreless inning of relief, but three Isotopes registered blown saves in Matt Dennis, Zach Lee, and Nick Kennedy, who also earned the loss in the 12th.
Michael Toglia hit an RBI single to get the party started in the first inning, Brenton Doyle hit a two-run homer in the fifth for more cushion, and Hunter Stovall sealed the win with a two-run triple in the sixth as Hartford won its fourth game out of its last five, including scoring double-digit runs in two straight games. Five Yard Goats had two-hit nights including Toglia, Doyle, and Stovall. Grant Lavigne posted two hits, two runs, and one RBI, and Daniel Montano had two hits and scored two runs. Dugan Darnell improved to 3-0 on the season after getting the win for throwing 2 1⁄3 innings of scoreless relief, giving up only one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.
Despite being tied at 2-2 through five innings, Spokane gave up six combined runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, thanks in large part to two home runs in Thursday’s loss. Four different Indian pitchers gave up at least one run before Adam McKillican had the only scoreless outing — 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings when he surrendered two hits, but also struck out two. Spokane was held to five hits on the night, including a solo homer by Colin Simpson, a double by Ronaiker Palma, an RBI single by Julio Carreras, and singles by Bladimir Restituyo and Nic Kent.
Sometimes it’s not about how you score the run as long as you score the run. That’s kind of how things went for Fresno on Thursday night. The Grizzlies took a 2-0 lead in the third inning after Yanquiel Fernandez drew a walk with the bases loaded to score Benjamin Sems and Adel Amador came around to score when Juan Guerrero hit into a double play later that inning. In the fifth inning, Fernandez hit an RBI single to score Amador for what turned out to be the winning run, despite the fact that the Grizzlies were outhit 7-4 in the contest. Victor Juarez improved to 5-4 on the season after throwing six scoreless innings where he struck out seven, walked one, and only gave up two hits. Francis Rivera and Angel Chivilli both had scoreless appearances from the bullpen for the Grizzlies.
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