It’s time to finally start playing meaningful baseball. The Colorado Rockies will attempt to make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history. If last season’s run taught the Rockies anything, it’s that there is a formula to making the playoffs.
The Rockies don’t have to be Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein to figure out the formula. It is quite simple. So here it is:
Win 50 games at home. Last year, the Rockies went 46-35 at home and edged out the Milwaukee Brewers by one game for the final Wild Card. Having 50 wins would have made the race for Wild Card home field much more interesting the final week of the season.
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Play .500 baseball on the road. Last year, 41-40. Check.
Close out close games. The Rockies spent $106 million on the bullpen this winter to do just this. Last year, they went 21-14 in one-run games. Closer Greg Holland was 41-for-45 in save opportunities. Wade Davis needs to be even better to live up to his monstrous contract.
Avoid getting swept. They were swept only seven times last year.
Jump out to a hot start. Considering some of the key injuries in NL West (Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Justin Turner, and possibly Zack Greinke), this could quite possibly be the most important part of a 2018 playoff run.
Also, in the month of April, 19 of the 27 games are against teams that are potential bottom feeders of their perspective divisions (Padres, Marlins, Pirates and Braves). The Rockies will need to take advantage.
The June swoon will hit, weather the storm. Historically, the Rockies have struggled in June. In 2017, on June 20, the Rockies were 21 games over .500 with a half-game lead in the West. They would go on to lose 15 of the next 20 games, dropping to 11.5 games back in the West. A hot start will provide a cushion, but limit the midseason struggles to stay in the thick of the race.
Finally and most simply, win series. In what became an on-going joke between my Rockies’ friends and I, my motto last year was “Just Win Series.” No team will go 162-0 … but the best teams win two out of every three games.
It is as simple as that. Follow this formula and back-to-back years of Rocktober will be the end result for the first time in franchise history.