Everybody except the players who perform at high altitude were ready to write off the Rockies’ season entering the eight-game road wringer at Los Angeles and Arizona. Lo and behold, Colorado reminded everyone that they are still seeking a date for post season dancing. They swept through four games at Los Angeles and split four games at Arizona to end the trip with an unfathomable 6-2 record.
The problem was that St. Louis and Milwaukee were just as hot keeping pace with the Rockies to remain 2.5 games behind them in the race for the second wild card spot. In the process of winning the first six games of the recent trip, Colorado took down Kershaw, Darvish, Wood, Hill, Greinke, and Walker. Impressive feat by itself. The Rockies ran their overall record to 80-67, 41-31 at home and 39-36 on the road. Great news is that Colorado plays 12 straight teams that are playing below .500 ball. Over in the Midwest the Cards, Brewers, and Cubs will be beating each other up vying for the Central division title.
The reasons for Colorado turning their season around:
- Chuck Nazty is a legitimate MVP candidate and leads the NL in WAR.
- DJLM is doing his thing as usual hitting over .310 after winning the 2016 batting title.
- Little Pony is really back when the Rockies need him the most. He made a small grip adjustment from holding the bat in his palm to holding the bat in his fingers. Thanks, Don Baylor and no thanks, Duane Espy.
- Gopherg has come out of nowhere to be a bullpen stud. Throwing first pitch strikes with upper 90s velocity and great command of his pitches.
- Chris Rusin is the most underrated relief pitcher in baseball and he is among the relief pitcher leaders in WAR.
- Gray Wolf has really arrived as the true ace. Missing the first two months has been a blessing in disguise as he is still fresh and in mid-season form.
- Tyler Anderson appears to be 100% healthy and ready to be a huge asset to the pitching staff.
- Ian Desmond and his low OPS+ can now be relegated to fourth outfielder with Parra, Nazty, and CarGo starting everyday.
They just need to put the picture of the 2007 World Series in their lockers to remind them how close they are to a date with Arizona (high probability). They will get started Friday night with the reunion of the 2007 team before the game against San Diego Padres. It is interesting to see how Bud Black feels watching the reunion while reminding him of how San Diego blew the tie-breaker play-in. Three images will surely be the highlight of the pre-game ceremony: Helton’s walk off HR off Saito, The Slide, and Helton pumping fist in air with Eric Byrnes lying face down in the dirt behind him.
Assuming that one of the Central teams get hot, that team will take the Central title. The other two teams are unlikely to be just as hot as the division winner. I’m guessing going 8-4 over the next 12 games will give us 88 wins which should be enough. If not, then the Rockies can pick up a win or two against the Dodgers in the season’s final series at home.
Fasten your seat belts and have fun!