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For the Rockies, the NL West just can’t be won

Colorado Rockies news and links for Friday, September 8, 2023

While most Rockies fans were skeptical of Dick Monfort’s .500-ball prediction “if (stuff) goes right” prior to the 2023 season, there was still good news about the 2023 schedule: fewer National League West games.

For a team that hasn’t won the division in its 30-year existence and will increase that to 31 season in 2023, this had to be good news right? Especially when you consider that an NL West team has gone to the World Series 10 times and won it five times in the last 30 years. Instead of facing the Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Padres 76 times in a season — nearly 47% of the schedule — like they did in the past, the Rockies only had to play their NL West rivals 52 times (32% of their games).

Even Monfort knew that was a good thing, as he told DNVR’s Patrick Lyons: “I think I like the balanced schedule. I don’t know if it helps us any more than it helps anybody else. But we seem to have troubles with the Dodgers and Giants of late and we get to play them (less).”

As it turns out, 52 matchups can still generate a shockingly depressing amount of losses. Entering this weekend’s three-game series in San Francisco, the Rockies are 9-29 against the NL West. That translates to a .237 winning percentage, way below their sad season winning percentage of .367 (51-88). The .237 mark is the lowest in franchise history against the division and, if we are being honest, it doesn’t have much chance of changing.

The Rockies have 14 games remaining this season against the NL West: seven against the Giants, four more against the NL West-leading Dodgers, and three more against the Padres. Even worse, the Rockies have yet to win a series against an NL West opponent in 2023. The Rockies split a four-game set to open the season against the Padres and have lost every division series since.

Westward No! Rockies 2023 Records vs. the NL West

Opponent Wins-Loss Winning % RS RA Run Diff. Games Left
Opponent Wins-Loss Winning % RS RA Run Diff. Games Left
Arizona 3-10 0.231 55 86 -31 0
Los Angeles 1-8 0.111 24 65 -41 4
San Diego 4-6 0.4 39 52 -13 3
San Francisco 1-5 0.167 20 29 -9 7
Total 9-29 0.237 138 232 -94 14
Overall 51-88 0.367 611 821 -210 23

At that .237 winning percentage rate, the Rockies would win three or four of those 14 games. Considering 11 of the games are against the Giants, who have dominated the Rockies in the last five years, and Dodgers, who have won the West 10 times in the previous 11 years, I will take the under and bet on the Rockies going 3-11 in these games.

That puts the Rockies record at 54-99, not including six games against the Cubs and three more against the Twins. Minnesota is likely to win the AL Central and the Cubs are in a strong position for an NL Wild Card spot. If the Rockies stay true to their .367 winning percentage, they are likely to go 3-6 in those games for a final record of 57-105.

As bad as that is, if this was still a season when the Rockies played the NL West 76 times, the Rockies could have a worse record than 51-88. They could be putting up a competitive battle against Oakland (43-97, .307) for the toilet bowl title of worst team in Major League Baseball.

I honestly don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse.

One thing that makes it worse is that the NL West isn’t even as strong this season as it has been in the past. At 84-54 (.609), the Dodgers are still the Dodgers. They are the third-best team in baseball behind Atlanta and Baltimore and hold a 13-game lead in the division. L.A. is well on its way to winning its 13th NL West title since the divisions formed their current alignment in 1994.

However, there’s a chance the Dodgers could be the only NL West team in the postseason. The Diamondbacks beat the Cubs on Thursday and are currently holding the final Wild Card spot by 0.5 games. The Phillies and the Cubs hold the first two spots for the time being, leaving Arizona ahead of the Reds and Marlins by a half-game each.

The NL West has established itself as one of the toughest in baseball as there have been at least two NL West teams in the playoffs for six of the last seven years, with 2019 as the only exception. Entering Friday’s games, the Giants are 2.5 games back and the Padres are seven back. The Wild Card race could come down to the very end.

Moving in the future, in order for the Rockies to achieve perennial success, they have to be competitive against the NL West. Even if they earn postseason berths through the Wild Card, the Rockies will have to have a .500 or better record against the division, as they did in 2017 and 2018, to even get that far. With the exception of the Padres — and thank goodness for the Padres — the Rockies have always struggled in this area.

As Rockies fans see promising rookies and prospects add power to the lineup and mad skills on defense, we are still waiting for the pitching to catch up. Hopefully, the Rockies can make baby steps in this area in 2024 and bigger steps in 2025. We’ll know the Rockies have made it when they can win in the West.

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3 Reasons why September will be the most exciting part of the Rockies season | RoxPile

It’s hard to have a positive outlook when it comes to the Rockies this season, so it’s great to see anything to help look for the good things. Thomas Murray has that here with three things to look forward to in the last month of the MLB season for Colorado. As most Rockies fans know, a lot of the joy is about the rookies.

San Francisco Giants to Host Colorado Rockies on September 10 Edition of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball | ESPN Pressroom

Guess how many times the Colorado Rockies have been featured in a Sunday Night Baseball game since 2001? Two. One time in 2001 and one time in 2019. That’s all folks. On the bright side, it’s great to have a national broadcast game so that guys like Ezequiel Tovar, Nolan Jones, and Brenton Doyle can get some of the attention they deserve. On the other hand, the Rockies have to face the Giants in front of a national audience. That’s just the team that has beaten the Rockies 24 times in 34 games since 2021. At least the Rockies snapped San Franciscos’ 11-game winning streak against Colorado when the Rockies won 5-3 on July 8. The pregame starts at 5 p.m. MDT with first pitch at 6 p.m. MDT.

Purple Row-DNVR Watch Party on Saturday | Twitter

Rockies fans are welcome to come hang with some folks from Purple Row and DNVR on Saturday to watch the Rockies-Giants showdown at 7 p.m. at the DNVR Bar. It’s been a rough season, but we still have a great Rockies community and it will be fun to commiserate with each other.

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On the Farm

Triple-A: Reno Aces 8, Albuquerque Isotopes 5

Down 5-0 through the top of the sixth inning, the Isotopes needed a comeback and Daniel Montano and Jimmy Herron did their best to make it happen. Despite a two-run homer in the eighth inning and an RBI triple in the sixth from Montano and a Herron two-run homer in the sixth, Albuquerque’s rally came up short. Aaron Schunk went 2-for-4 and scored two runs, while Hunter Stovall also went 2-for-4 and also scored a run. Ryan Feltner started on the mound for the Isotopes, making his first start with the team as part of a rehab assignment that started with one game for High-A Spokane on Sept. 1. Before that, Feltner hadn’t pitched since May 13 against the Philadelphia Phillies when a line drive fractured his skull. In his second appearance back, the 27-year-old RHP gave up one run on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings.

Double-A: Game 1: Binghamton Rumble Ponies 2, Hartford Yard Goats 0

In a rough way to start a doubleheader, the Yard Goats got no-hit by Joander Suarez, who completed the seven-inning, complete-game, no-hitter while also striking out four and only walking one. Carson Palmquist also threw a great game for Hartford, but didn’t get the run support he needed. He also went all seven innings in the complete-game effort, striking out nine, but giving up two runs on six hits with one walk and one HBP. Unfortunately, the walk, HBP, and two hits all came in the fifth inning when Binghampton scored both runs.

Game 2: Hartford Yard Goats 9, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 5, 8 innings

Have a night, Drew Romo. The Rockies catcher of the future and No. 35 overall pick of the 2020 draft hit three homers to drive in five runs to help the Yard Goats split the doubleheader. His final homer, a two-run blast to right field, came in the eighth inning to cap off a rally in extra innings.

The Rumble Ponies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning before Romo hit his first homer, a two-run shot in the second inning to make it 3-2. Hartford didn’t score again until the seventh inning when Romo hit one out again. This time it came in the form of a solo shot to tie the game before Sterlin Thompson followed with a two-run homer of his own to put Hartford up 5-3. Binghamton rallied back to send it to extras and that’s when Kyle Datres hit an RBI double and then came around to score on a fielder’s choice and an interference error. Already up two runs, Romo added insurance with his third homer to seal the deal.

High-A: Hillsboro Hops 6, Spokane Indians 2

After tying up their final series of the season 1-1 with a win on Wednesday night, the Indians fell to Hillsboro on Thursday. Spokane was held to five hits on the night and scored its two runs on a Nic Kent sacrifice fly and when AJ Lewis scored after Benny Montgomery reached on a fielding error. Mongomery also recorded a hit and scored the other run. Three games remain in Spokane’s season as the series against the Hops will go through the weekend and conclude on Sunday.

Low-A: Modesto Nuts 8, Fresno Grizzlies 0

The Grizzlies recorded six hits and walked three times, but went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, left four men on base, and hit into three double plays in a shutout loss on Thursday. The Nuts even committed two errors, but the Grizzlies couldn’t take advantage. Cole Carrigg tallied half of Fresno’s hits, including one double, and Jake Snider added two singles. Sergio Sanchez had a solid start for Fresno, only giving up one hit and one walk with six strikeouts in four scoreless innings. The next five relief pitchers all gave up at least one run each as the Nuts ran away with the win.

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