Colorado Rockies: Starting pitching will determine their postseason fate
The Colorado Rockies enter Thursday’s road series opener against the San Diego Padres with a 72-60 record, meaning there are just 30 games left in the 2018 regular season. Of those 30 games, 23 are against National League West competition … and all 23 are consecutive games, beginning tonight with the Padres.
If the Colorado Rockies are going to make the postseason, the next 23 games will likely be the determining factor in that. Of those 23 games, six are against the Los Angeles Dodgers (three home and three away) and seven are against the Arizona Diamondbacks (four home and three away). Entering Thursday, Colorado was a half-game behind Arizona and half-game in front of the Dodgers in the division standings. That’s how close this race has become.
In San Diego, the Rockies will roll out (in order) German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, Jon Gray and Kyle Freeland on the hill. Tyler Anderson was supposed to be on the mound on Saturday, but an 0-4 mark and 11.39 ERA (plus 2.016 WHIP and .368 batting average against) means he will likely pitch against the San Francisco Giants when the Rockies return to Coors Field on Labor Day.
Decisions like that are what it will take for the Rockies to have the best chance at winning their first-ever division title. The players who give Colorado its best opportunity for a victory are the ones who should be leading the charge. If a pitcher or position player is struggling, Bud Black must put egos aside and go with what’s best for the team, not the player, be it a veteran or rookie.
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
Those decisions will get slightly tougher when rosters expand on Saturday. There will be more relievers to choose from and more batters to put into a pinch-hitting role … and more pinch runners who could zip home on a single from second.
But roster decisions aside, it will come down to starting pitching over these next 30 games. Honestly, that’s what has carried the Rockies so far this year so why should it change? An offense that has struggled (and continues to struggle) can’t be counted upon to carry the load on a consistent basis. Eight-run innings like we saw against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field are too few and far between.
Freeland is putting together a season for the ages. Gray has rebounded in impressive fashion after his short stint at Triple-A. Marquez is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA after the All-Star break while opponents are hitting just .216 against him during that time. That trio will hold the weight of Colorado’s postseason hopes on their shoulders while Senzatela (5.87 ERA in three August starts) and Anderson simply must perform better than they have in recent outings.
Colorado will go as far as their starters will take them over these next 30 games. Buckle up. It’s going to be an interesting ride.