The All-Star break came at the worst time for the Colorado Rockies.
After winning five straight games and 13 out of the last 16, the Rockies were forced to take a break from their hot play and sit for four days as the unofficial midpoint of the season festivities took place in Washington, D.C. They now have to try to pick up where they left off and continue their run towards the playoffs.
Starting Friday, the Rockies kick off the second half of the season two games back of both the National League West lead and a Wild Card berth as they travel to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game series.
With 66 games left in the season, it’s time to break down the Rockies’ path to the playoffs.
|GB in West
|GB in Wildcard
|Home Games Remaining
|Road Games Remaining
|Games Against .500 Teams
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The Rockies probably have the toughest road to the postseason among teams in the National League. Out of their remaining 66 games, 38 of the games are against teams that currently have a better record and only 10 games remain against teams under .500 (three against the Pirates, seven against the Padres). Also, they have 10 games remaining against both the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks, six against the Giants, and four games against the Houston Astros, arguably the hardest interleague opponent faced by any of the teams left in contention in the National League.
A few weeks ago, I made a bet with a friend that the Dodgers would not win 90 games. The addition of Manny Machado to the team that is already leading the National League in home runs practically sealed my fate. I am now predicting that 94 wins will take the West and that 89 wins secures the last Wild Card spot. Currently, the Rockies are on pace to get to 86 wins.
The Machado move forces the Rockies and D-Backs to make a corresponding move to stay within striking distance. The splash move is likely not out there for the Rockies, but there are small moves (such as the Jonathan Lucroy and Pat Neshek acquisitions of last season) that could solidify the Rockies roster and make them major contenders in the Wild Card race.
If the Rockies plan on making the playoffs, they will need to get back to dominating at home. They were able to get back to .500 at home with their sweep of the Seattle Mariners but they will need to win at least 22 of the remaining 35 home games to have a shot. To go along with that, they need to crush their franchise-best mark of 41-40 on the road. They are currently six games over .500 so they can’t afford to take a step back.
The road to back-to-back Rocktobers is going to be difficult but it is manageable. The schedule is ugly but if the Rockies can come out of the break still on fire and continue getting quality starts from the pitching staff, it will be hard to keep the Rockies out of the playoffs.