Sunday, August 29, 2010

What the Colorado Rockies must do to make the playoffs

These Colorado Rockies are the girlfriend who keeps breaking up with you, only to say that she made a mistake and ask for you back. You know she is going to break your heart again, but you have to take the chance.

After a convincing 10-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, completing the club's first series victory over LA since August of 2008, the Rockies sit just 4-1/2 games back in the National League wild card chase. They have also crept within eight games of the National League West lead.

The Rockies are the only team in baseball that can go on a six-game road trip in late August, win just two games and score just eight runs on the entire trip, then suddenly have their fan base completely believing that for the third time in four seasons, that this team is going to make an incredible run to the postseason.

The Rockies completed a six-game homestand on Sunday with a 5-1 record. Essentially that erases the negatives that came along with the six-game road trip that saw the team get owned by the likes of Barry Enright.

The only issue for the Rockies? They have to go back out on the road again.

By Wednesday, the picture will be much clearer for these Rockies as to whether or not they actually have a chance to make a run at the postseason.

The Rockies head into San Francisco, a place where they never seem to play well, for a three-game series with the Giants. If the Rockies get swept, forget Rocktober. They are done. That would put them six games back of the Giants and probably somewhere around eight games out of the wild card lead. With 30 games left to be played, that would spell doom for the Rockies.

If the Rockies take one-of-three from the Giants, the odds are still against them, but they may have a fighting breath left in them, depending on what the Phillies and Cardinals do. A series victory, or a miraculous sweep of the Giants would propel the Rockies right into the thick of the hunt.

Jim Tracy was right about one thing, the Rockies must win 90 games to get into the postseason. That most-likely would be enough to get them the wild card. That number has been the magic number for the last four seasons in the National League. That means with 33 games left to be played, the Rockies must find a way to go 22-11 the rest of the way.

That makes the math easy. The Rockies must win every series that they are in, whether they are at home or on the road. If they drop a series, they are going to have to sweep someone to make up the difference.

Of the 33 games remaining, 16 of them are on the road. Those games include three with each of the division foes, plus four with the Cardinals to end the season. That means that 17 games are left on the schedule at Coors Field, including the Thursday makeup game with the Phillies.

For the Rockies to even entertain the idea of being in the playoffs, they cannot lose more than four more games at home. That gives them a little leeway on the road, where their struggles have been well documented. If they can find a way to go 13-4 at home, they can afford to go 9-7 on the road the rest of the way. Of course, picking up extra wins on the road would help immensely. The only problem with that is that the Rockies have done nothing to prove that they are capable of winning a series on the road, let alone two or three of them.

The long and short of it? The Rockies are going to have to turn on the after burners to get back into this race. Is it doable? Yes. Is it probable? No. However, if there is one team that no one should write off in September, it is the Colorado Rockies.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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