As the fourth inning ended for the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon, the wind started to pick up at Coors Field. Some might say it was the impending storms making their way into the Denver metro area. I, however, believe it was the air completely coming out of Colorado’s chances of making this year’s playoffs.
I’m the first to admit that I’ve believed the Rockies still had a chance to make the playoffs (read it here), despite entering the All-Star break with a 40-48 record. I believed, even though I knew they were given a 0.3 percent chance of hopping over other teams to grab a Wild Card slot.
I drank the Kool-Aid. But after the last four games, I’m starting to come out from under its spell.
Wednesday afternoon’s shellacking by the Tampa Bay Rays was yet another low point in a season that has been filled with them. The loss dropped Colorado to 43-51 and effectively signaled to the rest of Major League Baseball that the Rockies are indeed more than likely sellers by the time August 1 comes around.
Colorado manager Walt Weiss said earlier in the week that his team’s job was to win as many games as possible before the trading deadline and make it difficult for the Rockies to sell off some of their pieces to other teams. After all, if you’re pushing for the playoffs, you can’t send guys like Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon to other teams, right?
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Well, when you drop three of four games to the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay, you can.
Losing a 1-0 game in Atlanta that keeps you from sweeping the worst team in baseball is somewhat explainable. Watching Tampa Bay come into Coors Field and dismantle the Rockies is not over the course of 18 innings is not.
Prior to a 10-1 victory on Tuesday night, Tampa Bay hadn’t won a road game in 41 days. Let that soak in for a moment. This was a team with a 16-26 road record coming into Denver … and they didn’t just win on Tuesday (or Wednesday, for that matter). They were rampaging like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the original Ghostbusters, taking every chance to pound a Tyler Chatwood pitch to a different part of the park.
It didn’t get any better on Wednesday. Jorge De La Rosa, the subject of many trade rumors, did little to show his value to prospective suitors. Tampa Bay hopped on him for 11 hits and nine runs (seven earned) in just four innings.
Down 9-2 heading into the top of the fourth, the Rockies needed to show some life to get back into the game. What they showed was how Chris Archer’s 4-13 record is deceiving as the right-hander struck out Daniel Descalso, Mark Reynolds and Tony Wolters to easily get through the frame.
The next inning? Nolan Arenado and Gonzalez went down on strikes as well. CarGo slammed his helmet to the ground as he walked toward his outfield position.
There was no answer to be had. Tampa Bay came into Coors Field, took two of three games from the Rockies, and effectively mitigated them to proponents of the phrase, “Just wait til next year.”
Make no mistake about it … this is a team loaded with talent. This is a team that could’ve made a big statement this week in Denver. But, as John Greenleaf Whittier (or was it Melania Trump?) once said, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’”
Simply put, it’s time to start thinking about next year. It’s time to start thinking about David Dahl, Raimel Tapia, Jeff Hoffman and the future of the Colorado Rockies. To get there, however, it could mean a lot of movement this week and some wheeling and dealing.
Winter is coming.
Just wait til next year.