The Rox will close out the rest of September with games at friendly Coors Field, San Diego, Milwaukee and St. Louis, and hopefully they will be able to find the magic they had during their last homestand and win nine games. Now the Rox need to put together some wins. No doubt about it. But things are looking fairly positive as they look for their second postseason run in three years – a first in franchise history.
As of Tuesday morning – the first day of a nine-game homestand – the Rockies lead in the wildcard is four games over San Francisco. According to The Denver Post, with the Rockies record at 85-65 on Tuesday, if they split their final 12 games (final three against Dodgers!) they would set a franchise record for victories with 91 and force the Giants to go 10-2 over their last 12 games in order to tie. Both Florida and Atlanta would need to go 11-1.
Last time I decided to opine about the Rockies, I stated that they would finish the season atop the National League West Division. While I still be believe that is possible, it may just be a pipe dream as they are (on Tuesday) five games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers.
I will be the first to admit that the Rockies in the past month can beat anyone except their foes from the NL West. The wildcard was almost a blowout at one point in early September, but then, the Rockies just couldn’t get their bats going to even compete against the Giants and the Dodgers. That was the question I got the most lately. “What’s their biggest problem right now?”
The answer is simple: They have real trouble beating the Dodgers and the Giants. That’s it.
So if they are going to struggle against the Dodgers in L.A. in their final three games, the Rockies need to get their wins now and against teams they can beat. Hell, I am not even worried about the Rockies playing the hot Cardinals (Sept. 25-27) at home. Why? They aren’t the Giants or the Dodgers, that’s why.
Perhaps the biggest problem for the Rockies right now is that if they do make the playoffs, the road to the World Series will have to go through the Dodgers. If they are going to take a series from L.A. in the postseason, they are going to have to be playing at their best.
“As a team, we need to play better,” Rockies’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki told The Post. “In don’t think we are playing our best baseball right now, but there is still time. If we can finish up strong, and if we come into the playoffs with our A game, anything can happen.”
If that “A game” is going to reveal itself, it needs to start with improving their offense and getting runs on the board early. In this past 4-5 road trip, the team hit just .207 and struck out 94 times – an average of 10.4 strikeouts a game. This was so frustrating because the pitching and the defense was there. The pitching, while it has struggled at times, has not been that bad. If the Rockies are losing one or two to nothing, the pitchers need help from the bats.
The bats also need to come out early. For some reason the Rockies all year have been playing catch up in seemingly every game. Not that I didn’t like all of those exciting finishes where the Rox remain dormant all game and then blast a grand slam in extra innings to win it, but I wouldn’t mind getting a lead early and coasting to a relaxed win.
I have to say that the playoffs can’t come at a better time for Colorado sports fans. Yes, the Broncos have started off better than imagined. But their troubles are on the horizon when they will be forced to take on good teams from here on out. The Rockies, if they don’t blow it in this homestand, will be a cure to our possible Bronco depression.
The next installment of Rocktober is just around the corner. I hope it will be a good one.