Rockies Looking to Revive Post-Season Hopes in Unfriendly Territory
Ten days ago, the NL West was the most contested race in Major League Baseball. The Rockies were sitting in first place, just 2 1/2 games separating them from the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
Now, look at it.
The Rockies open a three-game series Friday night against Arizona at Chase Field in a matchup of two teams battling for survival, while the Dodgers are hosting the last-place Padres, in an effort to build off the lead they have amassed while taking advantage of the struggles of the two division challengers.
While the Dodgers have won seven of their last nine games — including a just-completed three-game sweep of the Rockies at Dodger Stadium — the Rockies and Diamondbacks are both 3-6 in the past 10 days. Only the Marlins, the first team officially eliminated from the post-season this year, have a worst record, losing seven of 10 games since Sept. 11.
In the process, the Dodgers have gone from 2 1/2 back of the Rockies to 2 1/2 games in front of the Rockies, and from a virtual tie with the D-Backs for second place to a six-game bulge on Arizona.
With 10 games remaining on the Rockies schedule, they need a strong showing this weekend to not only keep hopes alive in the NL West, but also to remain a serious threat in the NL wild-card, where they have slipped from the No. 2 slot to 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card position.
The Rockies are the only one of the four teams involved with post-season bids for either the NL West or wild-card with 10 games remaining — the other three have nine each — and against only teams with winning record.
The Rockies do, however, have their final seven games at home, and their two opponents during the homestand, the Phillies and Nationals, could both be eliminated from contention this weekend, which could take an edge from them.
The Dodgers finish with six games on the road, against the D-backs and Giants, who have been eliminated from post-season possibilities, but do share with the Dodgers what is arguably the oldest and most emotional rivalry in Major League Baseball.
The Cardinals finish with three games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, in another emotional rivalry but the Cubs will be in position by then to be fine-tuning for a return to the post-season. Their most contested series figures to be when they host the wild-card-leading Brewers for three games beginning Monday.
What’s Left in the Chase for October
|Friday||vs. Rockies||at D-Backs||vs. Padres||vs. Giants|
|Saturday||vs. Rockies||at D-Backs||vs. Padres||vs. Giants|
|Sunday||vs. Rockies||at D-Backs||vs. Padres||vs. Giants|
|Monday||vs. Dodgers||vs. Phillies||at D-backs||vs. Brewers|
|Tuesday||vs. Dodgers||vs. Phillies||at D-backs||vs. Brewers|
|Wednesday||vs. Dodgers||vs. Phillies||at D-backs||vs. Brewers|
|Sept. 28||at Padres||vs. Nationals||at Giants||at Cubs|
|Sept. 29||at Padres||vs. Nationals||at Giants||at Cubs|
|Sept. 30||at Padres||vs. Nationals||at Giants||at Cubs|
The Rockies have had problems with the Diamondbacks, ever since the expansion team came into existence in 1998, five years after the Rockies played their first game. The teams have split 16 games this season. If the Rockies were to win two out of three from Arizona this weekend, it would mark only the fifth time in 21 years that the Rockies would win the season series.
How challenging have the D-backs been for the Rockies? Well, the Rockies are 160-210 all-time against Arizona, the 11th-worst winning percentage for them against an NL team. Only the Phillies, Dodgers and Braves have had more success against Colorado over the 26 years the Rockies have existed.
And Chase Field has not been a favorite place for the Rockies. They have won only 16 of 59 series played at Chase Field, and have been swept in 14 of the 41 series they have lost. The two teams have split a four-game series twice.
The Rockies Over the Years
|vs. Ariz||W||L||Pct||At Chase||W||L||Pct||Opp||W||L||Pct|
The Rockies challenging road trip (1-5 so far) continues with Zack Greinke drawing the start for the D-Backs in the opener. Greinke is 12-5 lifetime against the Rockies. That’s the third most victories against the Rockies of any active pitcher. The top two? Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, both of whom started games their teams won against the Rockies in the last week.
What remains to be seen is if Rockies shortstop Trevor Story will be in the lineup. Story came out of Monday’s game in Los Angeles with inflammation in his right elbow. While doctors say there is no structural damage, there was soreness. Story worked out at the Rockies spring complex in Scottsdale on Thursday.
Story is a nightmare for Greinke. In only 38 at-bats, he has more RBI (12) against Greinke than any hitter, and his five home runs are tied for the most hit off Greinke with teammate Carlos Gonzalez, and Jason Giambi.