Following the Colorado Rockies game on Thursday, a lot of things have changed in the National League playoff picture. That will happen when one of the teams has one seven straight (that would be the Rockies).
Capping a sweep and a seventh straight win, the Colorado Rockies topped the Phillies 5-3 at Coors Field on a sun-splashed Thursday afternoon.
This leaves a few scenarios for the Rockies with three games left in their regular season. Let’s go from best to worst.
1) Rockies win the West with a better record than Atlanta
Colorado’s magic number to win the West is now three, meaning a combination of three Rockies wins or Dodgers losses will crown them National League West Champs for the first time ever.
In this scenario, the Rockies will likely need two or three wins to end with a better record than the Braves.
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This matters because it will determine home field in the first round of the National League Division Series. The Rockies do have the tiebreaker because they went 5-2 against the Braves in 2018.
The Braves play the Mets on Thursday night, then have three with the Phillies.
Currently the Rockies are one game back of Atlanta, so a 2-1 record for the Purple and a 1-2 record from the Bravos with at least one Dodger loss should take care of that. Although if the Dodgers don’t lose one game — sweeping the Giants in the Bay — and the Rockies win two of three, while the Braves go 1-2, they will face off in a Game 163 with the winner having home field against the Braves.
Because the Rockies would be the No. 2 seed in the NL, if the NL Central winner doesn’t advance, the Rockies could have home field in the NLCS if the Wild Card winner beats out the Central winner.
2) Rockies win the West with a worse record than Atlanta
The Rockies would finish with the No. 3 seed in the NL and there are a lot of ways to get here.
If the Rockies and Braves both sweep and Atlanta wins tonight, because the Braves hold a one-game better record, they would host the NLDS. If the Rockies, Braves and Dodgers all get swept, this is where the Rockies end up.
Essentially, if everyone holds, this is where the Rockies would end up because this is where they are today … which isn’t a bad place to be.
Sadly, this only guarantees them one game at Coors Field because the NLDS is best-of-five.
3) Game 163 for the West
The Dodgers will most likely have to sweep the Giants in San Francisco in order to force a tie atop the NL West. Currently, Fangraphs has an over 20 percent chance that this would happen and this game would be played in California.
If the Rockies win out and finish their season on a 10-game heater, they won’t have to worry … but even 2-1 record against the Nationals this weekend means the Rockies will look for some help from the Giants.
In this scenario, the loser of this game would go to Chicago or Milwaukee to play in the NL Wild Card game. So, in order for this to happen, the Rockies and Dodgers will either need the Cardinals to open death’s door themselves or force it upon them with a sweep by the Dodgers and a 2-1 record by the Rockies over the weekend.
4) Game 163 for the West, no backup plan
Same scenario as before except the Rockies get swept or go 1-2 and the Dodgers go 1-2 or 2-1 and the Cardinals go 2-1 or win out.
The magic number for the Rockies over the Cardinals is two so they have little room to play with and this is that room.
5) NL Wild Card (spot 2)
The Rockies win one game over the weekend and the Cardinals lose at least one to the Cubs and this is where the Rockies will find themselves. Two wins guarantees a tie with L.A., one would probably tie given the Dodgers’ struggles by the Bay and the loser would end here.
At this point, the easiest way for the Rockies to have this game would be losing 163 against the Dodgers.
6) Game 163 for NL Wild Card, spot 2
If the Rockies and Cardinals tie, this is where they’d end up. A 1-2 record by the Rockies and a sweep by the Cardinals over the weekend would see the winner of this 163 playing the Wild Card game at Wrigley Field … assuming the Brew Crew take a few this weekend.
7) No playoffs outright
The Rockies need two wins without help to get to the playoffs. So the only way this happens with the Cardinals in Chicago over the weekend is a sweep by the Redbirds and a sweep by the Nationals of the Rockies.