After the Colorado Rockies were swept in dramatic walk-off fashion in three consecutive games by the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, the discussion has turned to the all important big picture question: Have the Rockies proven to be in same league as the Dodgers?
The simple answer is the Colorado Rockies are closer than they have ever been … yet oh so far away.
Up and down the lineup, the Rockies showed that they can match up man for man against the Dodgers. In fact, when Trevor Story returns from the Injured List, one could argue they actually hold a slight advantage in the everyday lineup.
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Even in the biggest mismatch between the two teams, the Rockies’ rotation, with the league’s worst ERA, rose to the occasion and batted pitch for pitch against an elite rotation … at least for three games.
Where the Rockies struggle is depth. Depth in the lineup and in the bullpen. The Dodgers are leaps and bounds ahead of where the Rockies need to be to have a fighting chance.
When the Rockies have to resort to Jairo Diaz and Jesus Tinoco to shut down that potent lineup out of the bullpen, the odds are not in their favor. This is why a few moves will need to be made by the trade deadline. Here are some places where the Rockies can improve their roster.
The Dodgers’ depth and versatility proved lethal especially from rookies who were not even on the Opening Day roster. The walk-off home runs by Matt Beaty, Alex Verdugo and Will Smith mark the first time in MLB history that three different rookies hit walk-off home runs in three straight games, let alone consecutive games. They also have multiple players who play multiple positions and succeed at them, giving manager Dave Roberts a luxury that most big league teams don’t possess.
For the Rockies, depth has become a serious issue. It is obvious that Brendan Rodgers has Major League talent, but it appears he’s not ready. In 76 at-bats, he’s hitting .224 with a .522 OPS, only one extra-base hit and 27 strikeouts to go along with some costly errors defensively. Then there is Mark Reynolds and Pat Valaika, who have also become wasted space on the bench.
The Dodgers have set the gold standard for what it will take to come out on top of the National League. The Rockies have 85 more games, including 13 against the Dodgers, and the trade deadline to figure out how to get there.