Sixty games. That is it. Sixty games will decide if the Colorado Rockies get a chance to win the pennant.
So what does a Colorado Rockies playoff run look like when almost two-thirds of the Major League Baseball season has been taken away and the typical rotation of opponents is out the window?
In a non-pandemic season where 162 games are played, the magic number has been 87 wins. Hit that mark and you are right in the thick of the playoff conversation. But what about the 60-game schedule of the 2020 season? How many wins will it take the Rockies to get into the playoff discussion. Based on many of the win total projections that I have seen, my unscientific guess is 32 victories will be needed to have a chance.
So how do the Rockies get to that number? The schedule looks a bit daunting. They will play 10 games each against National League West foes, which includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are the odds-on favorite to win the World Series. The remaining 20 games of the schedule will consist of four games against each member of the American League West division.
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Let’s start with home/road splits. If the Rockies can take advantage of Coors Field and win 20 of their 30 home games, that would mean they only have to find 12 road wins to get that magic number of 32. Winning two-thirds of the home games seems a bit far-fetched, so let’s lower it to 18.
Now let’s move to an opponent breakdown. Originally, I had the Rockies winning three of the 10 games against the Dodgers. However, with Sunday’s news of former Cy Young winner David Price opting out of the season, that means the Rockies will face someone else in two of the 10 games, so let’s bump that up to four wins.
Most oddsmakers have both the Diamondbacks and Padres winning 31 games. The Rockies will, at a minimum, need to split against each of these teams, if not win at least six games.
Finally, there are the Giants, who have the second-lowest projected win total in the National League at 25.5. The Rockies have to take advantage of them and win at least seven games.
Switching to the AL West games, determining what the Rockies will need becomes a bit more difficult. Playing only four games against each team, it is imperative that they do not get swept in any series. That could be difficult as the Angels, A’s, and Astros all are projected to win more than 32 games.
The good news is that the Mariners are only projected to win 25 and the Rangers 29, so if the Rockies can scrape together nine victories out of their 20 games against the American League West, when combined with the 23 wins I’ve outlined earlier within the division, the Rockies get to the magic number.
If all else fails, all the Rockies need to do is get hot. One stretch of winning something like 12 of 15 games and they practically have a playoff spot sewn up.
Don’t forget, last season’s eventual World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals, had a record of 27-33 after 60 games and would not have been in the playoffs. They got hot at the right time and that is all the Rockies need to do in 2020.