And then there were five …
Pending the possible makeup of a game October 4 at Atlanta that was postponed September 16 because of inclement weather, the Colorado Rockies have just five games remaining in the 2021 season.
The Rox started their final homestand of the season with the opener of a three-game series Monday night against Washington by falling 5-4 to the Nationals.
Ryan McMahon had a three-run double in the sixth inning and C.J. Cron added a two-out, run-scoring double in the bottom of the ninth, but the Rox stranded 11 baserunners and dropped their fifth straight at Coors Field and ninth in their last 10 home contests.
Once the series with the Nationals (65-91) is complete on Wednesday, and following a day off from action, Colorado (71-85) travels to Arizona for a season-concluding three-game series with the Diamondbacks (pending no makeup game with Atlanta).
So, now that a pair of home series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are behind them, and with no chance remaining to be spoilers in the National League West race, what is left for the Colorado Rockies to play for in the team’s final five contests?
After all, the remaining opponents are a pair of teams, just like the Rox, which are well out of playoff contention.
There are a few goals, such as a making the playoffs and ending with a winning season record, that are already out of reach.
With the loss to Washington on Monday night, Colorado now cannot finish above a .600 winning percentage at home this season. On August 21, following a ninth consecutive win at Coors Field, at the time, Colorado had the most home wins in the Majors with a 43-21 record and a glossy .672 winning percentage. Since then, the Rox have won just three of their last 15 home games to fall to 46-33 at 20th and Blake for a .582 winning percentage.
But there are other reasons — both as a team and for individuals — to finish the season on a good note.
Here are just a few (considering no makeup game with Atlanta is played):
*After Monday night’s loss against the Nationals, Colorado needs one more victory to assure itself of avoiding a 90-loss season. With a 71-85 record, should the Rockies win just one of their final five contests, they would do no worse than 89 setbacks. Does 89 losses sound any better than 90? Does paying $999 for an item sound better than paying $1,000 for the same item?
*In the Washington series, Rockies pitchers have the chance to slow down the National League’s leading hitter in the Nats’ Juan Soto, who with a .321 average, is on a quest to claim the league’s batting title.
*The Rox have a chance to finish with records over .500 for games played since July 1, since June 14 and since May 30. After Monday night’s loss, Colorado is 37-38 since July 1, 46-44 since June 14, and 52-51 since May 30.
*With his ninth-inning double Monday night, Cron set an individual season high for doubles with 29. He has already established a new season high for walks with 57.
*With 28 home runs this season, Cron is just two homers shy from matching his season best of 30 homers set in 2018.
*Charlie Blackmon is one triple away from tying Dexter Fowler’s career franchise record in that category with 53.
*Trevor Story lacks one stolen base to earn his third season with 20 stolen bases and 20 home runs. In doing so, he would become the seventh MLB player all-time to amass 150 home runs and 100 stolen bases in his first six seasons. That list includes Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Darryl Strawberry, Andruw Jones, Ryan Braun, and Mike Trout.
*Story also is tied for the Major League lead in triples among shortstops this season with five. He is one three-bagger away from matching his career high set in 2018.
*McMahon currently leads the Majors with 24 defensive runs saved and could finish the season in the No. 1 spot. His 15 defensive runs saved at third base in 2021 are the second-most in the Majors.
*Daniel Bard has a chance to improve on his career best totals for saves (20) and wins (7) in a season. If he were to make appearances in each of the team’s final five games of 2021, he would equal his season-best mark of 70 appearances established with Boston in 2011.
So, yes, there are several reasons for the Colorado Rockies to finish the year in style.
Game 2 of Colorado’s series with Washington is set for 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time) Tuesday with Kyle Freeland (6-8, 4.50 ERA) scheduled to take the mound for the Rox while Patrick Corbin (9-15, 5.92 ERA) is slated to start on the hill for the Nationals.