Earlier today, my colleague Quinn Ritzdorf wrote a story for us on why the Colorado Rockies will not make the 2017 playoffs. You can read it here. In this article, I will attempt to provide the counterpoint to that argument.
Yes, I do believe the Rockies will qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2009. I do believe that all of the days prior to the All-Star break the Rockies looked like a team to beat in the National League will not go to waste. Here are some of the reasons.
September is coming
As I mentioned in an article before the trade deadline, I do believe the roster expansion will benefit the Rockies more than even some of the trades they made will.
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Part of the reason I believe that is the Rockies will finally have a deep bench and multiple offensive weapons from which to choose. Colorado has primarily had a four-man bench this season. With the roster expansion set to happen once the calendar turns to September, the Rockies will have more options off the bench. Those will most likely include Ryan McMahon, Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia, Jordan Patterson and Mike Tauchman. Desmond should be back from his rehab assignment around the same time as the rosters expand, if not before, giving the Rockies a big option they haven’t had for a while.
The Rockies have long been praised for having a deep farm system. This September, it will pay off in a big way.
Colorado has put in the work already
Think about this, the Rockies have spent 144 days in a playoff spot this season. That is more than the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals or a plethora of other Major League teams.
Colorado had a 47-26 mark on June 20. That was the best record in the National League. Of course, since then, they have struggled mightily. However, Milwaukee and St. Louis have yet to make up the ground necessary to catch the Rockies.
Simply put, while Colorado hasn’t been setting the National League on fire, neither has any other team. That’s a good sign for the Rockies heading into September.
Fresh pitching in the rotation
Heading into Sunday’s action, Jon Gray has 13 starts covering 69.1 innings. Chad Bettis has just 19 innings over three starts. Both those arms are fresh heading into the stretch, which could make a big difference for a Rockies rotation that has relied on rookies for much of the season because of injuries to Gray and Bettis.
Gray has a 2-1 mark and 2.84 ERA in August heading into Sunday. His WHIP of 1.22 is the lowest of any month he has pitched this season. Bettis, coming back from an offseason filled with cancer news and chemotherapy, could provide some veteran leadership on the mound along with his fresh arm.
Those are just some of the reasons why I believe the Rockies will make the postseason. Deep down, I also believe Nolan Arenado will somehow will them into the playoffs just because of his sheer competitiveness. However, more will be needed.
It is going to be a race to the finish for the Rockies and the teams they are competing with for the Wild Card. However, I believe Colorado has the power to make October into Rocktober again at 20th and Blake.