The next time that you hear that early season Major League Baseball games really don’t count for much, remember the story of the 2017 Colorado Rockies.
Colorado’s early-season successes are the only things that are keeping the Rockies in control of their own destiny for the second National League Wild Card slot at the moment. Well, that and the fact that the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals haven’t been able to take full advantage of Colorado’s stumbles over the last few days and weeks.
On June 20, the Colorado Rockies were sitting at 47-26 mark and held a half-game advantage in the National League West standings over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their odds of making the playoffs at that time, according to FanGraphs, were 90.1 percent. As the morning of September 24 dawned, Colorado had an 83-72 mark and a 55.5 percent chance to make the postseason. That’s a mark of 36-46 since June 20 … a record that won’t win you many shots to make the playoffs.
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Colorado’s recent struggles at the plate were highlighted once again in Saturday night’s 5-0 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. It marks the third time in the last four games that the Rockies had been shut out, something that has never happened in Colorado team history. Colorado, hoping to make the postseason for the first time since 2009, is making history for the wrong reasons right now.
The Rockies can be thankful for that early season success that helped push them ahead of the pack in mid-June. They can be glad that young pitchers like Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman performed in games where they were needed. Those games loom large right now, even though they were months ago.
Colorado has just seven games left in the season. While they are the most important seven of the campaign on paper, they’re no more important in the overall scheme of things than the first seven games of the 2017 season were. That’s what Colorado needs to remember at a time when it seems to be pushing maybe too hard to reach a goal that seemed so attainable at the All-Star break.