The Colorado Rockies have had one of the wildest seasons in recent history. They are 21 games above .500 at home and 31 games below .500 on the road. It’s historic and fun, especially with how miserable people thought this season was going to go. The only disappointment is for those who wanted to go full rebuild and try to tank the team to help fix the low-ranking farm system.
I will admit that the trade deadline was disappointing, but now that it has passed, it is time to embrace the chaos. The Rockies have done better (while still by no means great) on the road since the All-Star Break, posting a 5-11 record. They have also remained consistent at home, posting a record of 11-4 since the ASG. Through all the chaos, the Colorado Rockies only sit 10 games out of a wildcard spot with only 40 games remaining.
So what are the scenarios that the Colorado Rockies could see to end the season?
First, let’s establish the record the Rockies are on pace for, with 18 home games remaining and 22 away games, the 2021 Rockies are on pace to finish 76-86, using the post-All-Star game split. This would finish out the season with a 20-20 record. Any good the Rockies can achieve at home is immediately canceled out by whoever it is they play on the road.
Is it impossible? Technically, no.
The Padres are in freefall and both them and the Reds have tough schedules ahead of them, but it’s hard to believe neither of those teams win at least 10 games in the last month and a half of the season. Even if the Reds and Padres freefall, the Cardinals have a relatively easy remaining schedule and Philadelphia has an extremely easy remaining schedule.
So if the Colorado Rockies want a chance to make it to the playoffs, they are going to have their work cut out for them.
Let’s look at the schedule and try to put a reasonable record together.
The Colorado Rockies may be good at home, but it really depends on what teams they are playing.
The Colorado Rockies upcoming schedule, especially in September would be difficult
The Colorado Rockies have home series against the Diamondbacks (currently ongoing), Braves, Giants, Dodgers, Giants (again), and Nationals. The Rockies have away series against the Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, Phillies, Braves, Nationals, and Diamondbacks. This is a very tough schedule for the Rockies specifically, but we are going to try our best at cherry-picking the results we want to see.
So let’s start with the home schedule, assume the Rockies complete the sweep of Arizona, what’s next? Well, looking at similar teams that have played at Coors Field this year and using the season records, we can squeeze an optimistic 14 wins out of the remaining home games and an optimistic 12 wins out of the remaining away games.
That would give the Colorado Rockies a final record of 82-80. Wait, that’s it? I must have done something wrong. No? Ok well, while that impressive ending would give the Colorado Rockies a winning record, it certainly wouldn’t give them a shot at the playoffs.
Let’s look at something insane that has happened before instead, Rocktober.
While a 40 game winning streak to end the season is certainly ridiculous, we have 2007 to go off of, when the Colorado Rockies won 21 of their last 22 games entering the World Series.
Let’s look at two scenarios: The Rockies continue their current pace until 15 games before the end of the regular season. Then another with the team ending the season with 21 victories and a single loss.
If the Rockies somehow repeated history, winning 14 of their 15 final regular-season games, they would win 5 away games and 7 home games before the stretch. This gives the team a final record of 82-80.
That would not get the Colorado Rockies into the playoffs but another scenario might
Well, let’s look at the other scenario, winning 21 of the final 22 games might seem like a stretch, but the Rockies did it in 2007 (14-1 in the final 15 games of the regular season, and then they went 7-0 to start the postseason) so it could be done again. With this new qualifier, the Rockies would win 3 away games and 7 home games before that stretch, giving the team a final record of… drumroll please… 87-75, just barely making them a contender for the final Wild Card spot.
For this record, the Rockies would need to finish out the last 40 games with a record of 31-9 while playing most of their games on the road. While not impossible, it is a <1% chance that this turn of events comes to pass.
If this was 2020, however, this might be a different story. With rumors that they might appear in the next CBA, let’s look at the 2021 Colorado Rockies’ expanded playoff hopes.
For those who do not remember, in 2020, there was an expanded playoff for MLB, with the top two teams from each division making the playoffs along with two Wild Card teams. If this were the case, the Colorado Rockies would only be 6.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, unlike the current 10.0 games back they are from the Padres and Reds.
This still stands true according to fivethirtyeight.com, which currently has the Cardinals projected to finish 82-80 in what would have the final Wild Card spot in the National League bracket, exactly where some of our slightly more realistic (yet still ridiculously optimistic) scenarios projected the Rockies could end up at.
This could trigger yet another game 163 (it would be poetic though for the Arenado led Cardinals to battle the Rockies for the final playoff spot). Alas, that is not how the playoffs currently work, and this is not necessarily an endorsement of that system, just another scenario that I found interesting enough to discuss.
So where does that leave the Colorado Rockies?
Not contending, nor tanking, just a middling team unsure of what they want to be. Wanting to contend without the necessary pieces, refusing to rebuild without the strong farm foundation. Ah well, at least the home games are fun. Let the Rockies play every game at Coors Field, you cowards.