Healthy, hitting David Dahl key to Colorado Rockies success in September

Colorado Rockies outfielder David Dahl is reportedly nearing his return from the injured list. When he returns, his team will need him to perform at a high level in what will be a grueling September run.

David Dahl went on the 10-day injured list on August 19 (retroactive to August 18) with lower back soreness. The move capped what has been a disappointing start to the 2020 campaign for the Colorado Rockies budding star, with Dahl posting a .189/.238/.243 slash line in 74 at-bats spanning 19 games. In those 74 at-bats, Dahl has struck out 21 times.

Those slash numbers are even a bit scarier when you see that Dahl started the season by going 3-for-4 in the season opener against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Since that night, Dahl has had just two other games with multiple hits (a 2-for-5 game against San Diego on July 31 and a 2-for-4 showing in Seattle on August 9).

It’s a far cry from a 2019 season that saw the 26-year-old Dahl earn his first-ever All-Star appearance and post a .302/.353/.524 slash line in 100 games before a high ankle sprain suffered in a game against the San Francisco Giants on August 2 prematurely ended his season.

Colorado manager Bud Black has indicated that Dahl is close to returning to action and has taken swings in the cage in recent days to test the soreness in his back and side that plagued him before going on the IL. That soreness could be part of the reason why Dahl went just 2-for-24 (with 12 strikeouts) in the final seven games he played before heading to the IL.

As Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs showed yesterday, Colorado is once again struggling to produce outside of its top three hitters (Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and Trevor Story) in 2020. This, unfortunately, has been a trend in recent years. Last year, however, Dahl helped give the Rockies a formidable top of the lineup, joining the trio above. That threat has to return when Dahl comes back for a September schedule that includes six games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and an eight-game road slate to finish the season (four against San Francisco followed by four versus Arizona).

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If Raimel Tapia and Garrett Hampson can continue to produce in the leadoff spot, and Dahl can lengthen the Colorado lineup with his return, the Rockies have a legitimate shot to not only land in the expanded postseason, but do some damage once they arrive in Rocktober as well.