As of Monday night, the Colorado Rockies have been mathematically eliminated from the 2022 postseason.
The fate of elimination was pretty much inevitable at some point this week — the club entered Monday 16 games out of a wildcard spot with 16 to play — but with the fate now sealed, the conversation officially turns to what is left.
It’s time to play spoiler: against others, and potentially against themselves.
15 games remain on Colorado’s 2022 schedule. All 15 games are against NL West foes, while nine are against teams in line for a postseason berth.
Here is how the Rockies can leave their mark on what remains in 2022:
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Home-Field Advantage Late-Season Momentum
Games remaining against the Rockies: 6
At 102-44, the Dodgers hold the hands-down best record in baseball. They are 9.5 games ahead of the Mets for the best record in the National League, so it’s pretty safe to say the NL road to the World Series runs through Dodger Stadium. With a six-game lead above the Astros for the top MLB record, there is little risk for the Dodgers to lose home-field advantage all the way through the Series itself.
The 2001 Seattle Mariners set the MLB record for wins at 116. It will take a 14-2 finish for the Dodgers to match that mark; with those long odds, it could suggest L.A. manager Dave Roberts is thinking more about controlling workloads than chasing a record.
(It’s unfair to suggest the Dodgers will enter a spring training-type phase in the final week of the season, but it’s better to test things out there instead of the NLDS.)
The Rockies will play six games at Dodger Stadium to conclude the 2022 schedule, and the likely biggest spoiling they can cause there is simply slowing the Dodgers’ momentum before the postseason. Colorado holds a 5-8 record against the Dodgers this year, and they are one of only two teams to defeat the Dodgers five times. (Pittsburgh is the surprising other at 5-1, so hey, anything can happen in this weird game of baseball.)
San Diego Padres: Wildcard Placement, Potential First-Round Opponent
Games remaining against the Rockies: 3
An upcoming weekend set with the Padres is where the Rockies can most disrupt the postseason bracket. Three NL wildcard teams will make it into the postseason this year. San Diego is currently holding the second spot, and a three-game set with the Rockies could either solidify their presence or take them out of the mix:
The final games at Coors Field this year are scheduled for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Forecasted high temperatures are touching 80 for early in the weekend. We’ve got fireworks after the game on Friday too, so a top-10 attendance average at Coors Field could jump even higher as fans seek their final taste at 20th and Blake this year.
The series comes against a Padres team that really has something to prove, especially after spending Soto-level money at the trade deadline (a trend that started long before 2022). This could ensure there is extra energy in the ballpark.
If the season ended last night, the NL fifth-seeded Padres would be taking on the fourth-seeded Cardinals in a three-game Wild Card Series. The winner would then advance to take on the Dodgers in a best-of-five NLDS.
A lot can happen to the NL wildcard standings this weekend, plenty of it taking shape in Denver as the Rockies welcome some presumably large crowds. Colorado holds a 9-7 record over the Padres this year.
San Francisco Giants: A Slim Chance at Wildcard #3, Divisional Status
Games remaining against the Rockies: 6
San Francisco is currently 10.5 games behind the Phillies for the NL’s third and final wildcard spot. Getting in will take a scorching hot streak by the Giants and a monumental collapse by multiple teams.
A more likely spoil, however, is the Giants’ standing in the division they won just a few months ago.
In 2021, San Francisco ended an eight-year reign by the Dodgers atop the NL West. The banner at Oracle Park will be far more short-lived if the Giants are to place behind the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks this season.
The Giants currently lead the D-Backs by two games. Colorado is 5-8 against the Giants this year; if that record is to even, Arizona could find themselves jumping ahead in the standings.
Colorado Rockies: A Top-10 Draft Pick in 2023
There is a chance the Rockies can somewhat spoil themselves, as odd as it sounds. Colorado is tied for the 10th-worst winning percentage in baseball, and a top-10 pick is on the line for the 2023 draft next July.
This isn’t to say it’s worth tanking for, as the Rockies paid 15th-overall slot money for a 10th-overall pick this July. The strategy becomes more enticing with a single-digit pick in round one, however.
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After departing Sunday’s contest against the Cubs, infielder Brendan Rodgers was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain. Noah Yingling of Rox Pile says Rodgers will undergo an MRI, but “neither Rodgers or [manager] Bud Black believe that it is a severe strain.”
We’ve got a championship on our hands! The Fresno Grizzlies continue a three-game set against the Lake Elsinore Storm this evening in a quest for a California League title. Drew Creasman highlights several players that helped Fresno get there, while one such player, Warming Bernabel, will be seen further in the Arizona Fall League starting on October 3.
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On the Farm
Monday, September 19: League-wide off day for all minor league affiliates
New series this week:
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (COL) at Sugar Land Space Cowboys (HOU)
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (COL) season concluded on Sept. 18 (Final record: 34-34)
High-A: Spokane Indians (COL) season concluded on Sept. 11 (Final record: 30-36)
Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (COL) at/vs. Lake Elsinore Storm (SD)
* California League championship series (best-of-three):
- Sunday, Sept. 18: Fresno @ Lake Elsinore (L 2-13)
- Tuesday, Sept. 20: Lake Elsinore @ Fresno (7:50 p.m. MDT)
- Wednesday, Sept. 21: Lake Elsinore @ Fresno (7:50 p.m. MDT)
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