DENVER — The Colorado Rockies have won eight straight games and could very well be playing their best ball of the season. Now at 31-27, they just went 9-1 over a 10-game homestand.
No doubt winning is good and only helps … but the streak has revealed the bigger issue at large. During the hot stretch of play, the Colorado Rockies only picked up a single game on the top-of-the-West and six-time reigning division-winning Los Angeles Dodgers. An eight-game heater is tied for Colorado’s longest since 2010 … yet they remain nine games back of first place.
It’s become apparent over the 27 years of non-division winning ball in Colorado that not only do the Denver Nine need to have a historically good season but they need their competition to underperform. That happened in 2018 with the Dodgers undershooting their Pythagorean win projection by 10, finishing with 92. This was due to a myriad of issues, including strange scoring sequencing, injuries and a club the didn’t seem to like playing together. In fact, the difference between their projected winning percentage and what it actually was is the biggest difference since before the club moved to Los Angeles.
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
In fewer words, the Rockies had their second-best season in franchise history and the Dodgers were unusually unlucky and Colorado was rewarded with a road loss in Game 163.
Already the Rockies chances of winning the division according to Fangraphs have dipped to 0.4 percent, which is half of where it was at the lowest point last year on June 27 at 0.8 percent.
While the numbers are damning in more understandable terms, it’s pretty clear the Rockies have an uphill battle ahead of them.
Sure, they have been bolstered by the play of Brendan Rodgers and are about to be helped by top pitching prospect Peter Lambert … but that wasn’t the plan. The two were supposed to be supplemental late in the summer, not rookies needed to produce.
Fourth in NL Cy Young-voting Kyle Freeland‘s struggles and subsequent demotion along with Tyler Anderson‘s injuries have left the club without a left-handed starter. More problematic is that the purple doesn’t really have anything reliable beyond German Marquez and Jon Gray in the rotation. And within the game beyond those two, if it’s not Scott Oberg coming in to relieve, there isn’t a ton of faith.
For Colorado, which has been built on pitching the past few years to see if take the massive step back that it has to worst staff ERA in the NL is a huge concern. Not only because of what has been shown already but because the only solutions seem to be to hope the same guys pitch better. They have the talent to do so … but will they?
The offense has been a bit better thus far. David Dahl and Raimel Tapia have added threats to the duo of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. Yet Charlie Blackmon‘s current injury as well as Daniel Murphy‘s earlier one display that the Rockies are ill-equipped to dip into depth.
None of this is to say that the Rockies can’t win the division. It’s still possible, but the margin for error has gotten so thin that, even with their current run of hot play, it’s hard to see it happening.
There has to be a certain bleakness to the best-case scenario being a third straight year of nine innings to advance.
The overall picture is still bright with players locked up and a young pitching core, though what has happened this year seems to happen every year. Even with the Rockies in their best three-year stretch in franchise history, there’s still a significant gap between them and the upper-echelon of the National League, which just so happens to be the Dodgers … again.