Colorado Rockies: What happens after the Wild Card game?
Picture this. It’s the end of the 2018 season and the Colorado Rockies have made it to the Wild Card game once again. While we would all love to see them win the division, the National League West could be the toughest it has ever been from top to bottom. For now, let’s say they make the Wild Card game. You can imagine it’s against whichever team you wish. In my opinion, it may be the Milwaukee Brewers or Arizona Diamondbacks. Let’s say it will be a close and hard-fought game … but this year is different. This year the Rockies win it. Yes, they just won the National League Wild Card. So what happens next?
You’re thinking it’s a no-brainer, right? Yes, they’re going to the NLDS, but we must think deeper than that. After winning the Wild Card, the Rockies will go on to most likely play the Los Angeles Dodgers, who oddsmakers say are likely to be the top seed in the National League again in 2018. In one of my previous articles, I talk about how the Rockies have to face their giant, which is the Wild Card game. If they surpass that, then it’s on to an even bigger game with a bigger opponent … the Dodgers.
Last season, the Dodgers stormed back from an early division deficit (to the Rockies) and were an immovable object that a plethora of teams tried to push out of the way. Then along came the Houston Astros … and they certainly pushed the Dodgers off their high horse in the final game of the World Series.
Right now, I’d say the Rockies are one of the most underestimated teams in Major League Baseball. We see it in the odds and predictions. Even though they went to the Wild Card game, people still don’t seem to know their worth … but I believe 2018 is the year it will change.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
So, in my scenario, the Rockies have made it to the NLDS. Now all they have to do is beat the Dodgers, right? One of the biggest advantages the Rockies will have is the LA’s overuse of Clayton Kershaw during the postseason (his postseason ERA is 4.35 while almost two runs lower during the regular season). Kershaw’s postseason was part of the reason why the Cubs were able to surpass the Dodgers in 2016 and how the Astros eventually won in 2017. Also let’s not forget about Kershaw’s home run dilemma, he gave up a career-high 23 of them last season.
The Rockies have had one of the best offenses in the game and home runs are their bread and butter. Even Colorado’s prospect depth is very good this year. This youth push could be what defines the Rockies beating the Dodgers. Raimel Tapia and David Dahl will be held in high regard this season and could be the keys to winning it all. If the Rockies are going to take the crown from the Dodgers, it starts during the regular season.
When the Dodgers slumped in 2017, they slumped a lot, including an 11-game losing streak in September. This year, the Rockies have to pounce on those stumbles when they happen. They must distance themselves from Dodgers and the rest of the division, because when the Rockies offense gets to grinding, the grind should never stop.
Now why am I being all motivational? Because I believe the Rockies can win the Wild Card and can win the NLDS. Though let’s step back for a second. When the Rockies win the 2018 Wild Card, they will have done something they’ve been trying to do for almost an entire decade. One of the biggest things that this team will have to understand is that they can not (I mean can not!) only depend on Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon to continue to carry this team on their backs. Everyone has to be held accountable for what happens in the postseason, all the way up and down the lineup.
Next: Is the Colorado bullpen upgraded or overpaid?
The teams that reach the postseason do so because they leave no door ajar or wide open. This happened to the Rockies last year and Milwaukee nearly took advantage in the season’s final weeks. It can’t happen again in 2018. In order for the Rockies to get what they want (a World Series), they must take into consideration many things. In the end, it’s up to them when it comes to what happens after the Wild Card game.