Caution: Rough Road Ahead for Rockies Division Title Hopes

- Games Last
Year in 1st Game Finish
2018 22 146* TBD
1995 108 139 Wild-Card
1996 5 101 3rd place
2006 32 84 4th place
2000 2 78 4th place
2017 73 73 Wild-Card
2013 29 49 5th place
2011 33 40 4th place
1997 23 36 3rd place
2014 1 36 4th place
2016 6 28 3rd place
2001 8 21 5th place
2015 10 10 5th place
1998 6 6 4th place
2009 2 4 Wild-Card
2007 1 4 Wild-Card
2010 1 1 3rd place
2005 1 1 5th place
1999 1 1 5th place

The Rockies are in uncharted territory. With 16 games remaining in the season, they are in first place in the NL West. They head into Friday’s game in San Francisco leading the second-place Dodgers by 1 1/2 games, and the third-place D-backs by 4 1/2 games, having just completed a series at Coors Field by taking three of four games from Arizona.

Now, however, they are headed on the road — to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Arizona. It’s a chance for them to take care of business, given they play three games each against the Dodgers and D-backs, but what can’t be overlooked is where they are headed are three ballparks that have been particularly challenging for the Rockies.

“Obviously, every game is big now,” said Nolan Arenado. “It’s going to be a tough road trip. we’re ready. We understand there is something to play for, and it gives us more energy.”

Once they finish the 10-day, nine-game visit West, the Rockies will return home and finish the regular season by hosting the Phillies for four games, and the Nationals by three. And they have, in the last two months, regained their home-field domination of visiting teams.

Current NL Parks W L PCT
Busch Stadium 13 34 .277
Marlins Park 7 17 .292
Chase Field 66 117 .361
AT&T Park 64 106 .376
Dodger Stadium 81 131 .382
Citizens Bank Park 20 32 .385
PNC Park 25 38 .397
Miller Park 26 33 .441
Wrigley Field 45 52 .464
Great American 24 26 .48
Citi Field 17 18 .486
PETCO Park 70 70 .500
Nationals Park 23 13 .639
SunTrust Park 6 1 .857

Can they, however, suddenly take charge on the road? They are a virtual cinch to set a single-season road record for wins. They arrived in San Francisco having won 40 road games, with nine road games remaining.

They are one win shy of their all-time best set in 2009 and equaled a year ago.

Among current NL ballparks, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and Chase Field in Phoenix are three of the five most challenging parks for the Rockies.

There are only two ballparks the Rockies have an all-time winning record in — Sun Trust Park, where the Braves have played only two seasons, and Nationals Park.

“We try to not think too much about that,” said Trevor Story. “We try to do like we do at home, play ball and win. We are not putting pressure on ourselves. We are just playing well.”

Looking to Smooth Out the Bumps

AT&T Park Dodger Stadium Chase Field
Year W L Pct Year W L Pct Year W L Pct
2015 6 3 .667 1999 4 2 .667 2009 5 4 .556
2008 6 3 .667 1994 2 1 .667 2016 5 4 .556
2007 5 4 .556 1997 4 2 .667 2007 5 4 .556
2014 5 5 .500 2013 6 4 .600 2017 5 5 .500
2002 4 5 .444 1993 4 3 .571 2004 5 5 .500
2006 4 5 .444 2007 5 4 .556 1998 3 3 .500
2010 4 5 .444 2017 5 4 .556 2018 3 3 .500
2004 4 5 .444 2018 3 3 .500 1999 3 3 .500
2018 3 4 .429 1998 3 3 .500 2005 4 5 .444
2001 4 6 .400 2005 4 5 .444 2006 4 5 .444
2016 4 6 .400 2010 4 5 .444 2012 4 5 .444
2005 3 6 .333 2008 4 5 .444 2014 4 5 .444
2017 3 6 .333 1995 3 4 .429 2003 3 6 .333
2009 2 7 .222 2001 4 6 .400 2000 2 5 .286
2013 2 7 .222 2004 3 6 .333 2010 2 7 .222
2011 2 7 .222 2011 3 6 .333 2011 2 7 .222
2012 2 7 .222 1996 2 4 .333 2015 2 8 .200
2003 1 9 .100 2015 3 7 .300 2013 2 8 .200
2000 0 6 .000 2009 2 7 .222 2001 1 8 0.111
64 106 .376 2012 2 7 .222 2008 1 8 .111
2002 2 7 .222 2002 1 9 .100
2014 2 7 .222 66 117 .361
2003 2 8 .200
2006 2 8 .200
2016 2 8 .200
2000 1 5 .167
81 129 .386

The Giants are struggling. They are winless in their first 11 games of September, the longest losing streak since they moved to San Francisco, and the longest for the franchise since 1944.

Team W L Pct
Rockies 43 23 .652
Cubs 42 26 .618
Cardinals 39 29 .574
Brewers 38 30 .559
Braves 37 30 .552
Dodgers 37 31 .544
Mets 36 32 .529
Pirates 34 31 .523
Nationals 33 36 .478
Phillies 32 35 .478
D-backs 31 36 .463
Reds 29 38 .433
Giants 26 40 .394
Marlings 25 40 .385
Padres 23 41 .359

They have to win seven of their final 16 games to avoid the worst September/October record in the history of the franchise, which is one of the eight original National League teams.

Three of those eight losses came earlier this month at Coors Field, the opening series of the Rockies just-completed 7-3 homestand.

And they do have a prime 2018 highlight from their last trip to San Francisco. After losing the first two games of that series, and falling into fourth place, eight games out of first, they rallied in the final game of the series, winning 9-8 thanks to DJ LeMahieu’s two-run home run in the top of the ninth. LeMahieu was 3-for-4 that afternoon with five RBI.

It was the turning point in the season for the Rockies, who quickly got back into contention in the NL West, and have not faded, compiling the best record in the NL since that win at AT&T Park.

Now they are looking to build on it.

“All these games are important,” said Charlie Blackmon. “They are all important, but the last month they are more important because we are playing for a spot in the post-season.”


Tracy RingolsbyComment