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Updated: 2017-09-23T09:54:09-06:00


Colorado Rockies trying to hold on after second half regression



Rockies news and links for September 23, 2017

October Is Better With the Rockies, but They’re Throwing Away a Playoff Spot | The Ringer

As we know, the Rockies banked a lot of wins early when they charged out to first place in the National League West and were more than 20 games over .500. They are still enjoying the benefits of banking those early wins as they cling to a 1.5 game lead in the wild card race despite an unsteady second half.

We know the star players have kept playing like stars. It is the group of players who were surprisingly very good early who have come back to earth. Michael Baumann takes a look at some of the culprits and what the Rockies will have to do to still make the playoffs.

Jon Gray is lined up to pitch a wild-card game for the Rockies, if they can get there | Denver Post

There are a number of exciting things about the thought of the Rockies actually making the playoffs. One is that they have a stud for that one-game playoff scenario. There is the possibility that the starting pitcher would have a short leash and it would become a bullpen game. But if there was a pitcher on the Rockies who could give an ace-like start in that scenario, it’s Gray.

Sweet relief: Baseball's best pitchers in the clutch | ESPN

In the next week and hopefully beyond, there will be nervous moments. Bud Black will point to the bullpen, and the Rockies will need a reliever to get them out of a key spot. That’s where Pat Neshek can continue to bring value, and he’s included here on the list of baseball’s most clutch pitchers (subscription required).

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again: Cubs 5, Brewers 4 in 10 Innings | Brew Crew Ball

You know who’s not having fun right now? The Brewers. They lost another close game late, this time in extra innings against the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers entered Friday night with another chance to tie the Rockies for the second wild card spot. Instead they now find themselves two games back. If that weren’t enough, there’s another team between them and the Rockies now.

Cardiac Cards Make Zombie Comeback, Beat Bucs 4-3: A Recap | Viva El Birdos

This is my nightmare. The Cardinals have won four straight games, and they are now 1.5 games back of the second wild card spot. Things still favor the Rockies, but I don’t like this development at all.

Rockies go deep three times in 4-1 victory over Padres



Arenado, Story and Desmond homered in the win.

For four innings on Friday night, it seemed like the Rockies would never score again. Jordan Lyles, of all people, hadn’t allowed so much as a baserunner through the first twelve batters he faced. Then the bats finally woke up to the tune of three home runs in a 4-1 victory that preserved a 1 12 game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card. Jon Gray pitched well and earned his ninth victory of the season.

In the bottom of the fifth, Nolan Arenado finally broke the 24-inning scoreless drought (and broke up Lyles’s perfect game) with an opposite field solo home run (his 35th of the season). Two batters later Ian Desmond hit just his sixth home run of the season. It was his fourth at PETCO park.

The Padres got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Jordan Lyles singled home a run. Gray gave up some hard contact that inning but limited the damage. He pitched a clean sixth and finished his night allowing one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. He threw 100 pitches; 62 for strikes. His gamescore was 69.

Trevor Story led off the top of the seventh with his 22nd homer of the year. He also surpassed last year’s total with his 73rd RBI. Ian Desmond singled and came around to score on a Lucroy base hit, and the Rockies had a 4-1 lead. All four runs were charged to Jordan Lyles, who exited the game after facing Desmond.

Chris Rusin entered the game in the seventh inning and got a quick out before allowing a double and a single that put runners on the corners and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of rookie Christian Villanueva. Pat Neshek came on and got Villanueva to foul out and struck out Manuel Margot to preserve the lead.

The Rockies threatened to add to their lead in the eighth but Cory Spangenberg made a diving catch to rob Gerardo Parra of extra bases and saved at least one, possibly two, runs.

Jake McGee pitched a scoreless eighth for the Rockies and Greg Holland got back on track with a 1-2-3 ninth to seal Colorado’s first win in six days.

The series continues tomorrow night when Chad Bettis takes on another old friend, Jhoulys Chacin, at 6:40 MDT.

Colorado Rockies Game No. 154 Thread: Jon Gray vs. Jordan Lyles



Rockies have a 2-0 lead in San Diego.

Sorry we’re late, folks, but Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond have solo homers to give the Rockies a 2-0 lead.

NL Wild Card tiebreaker scenarios that could involve the Rockies


If the Rockies find themselves locked in a tie with the Brewers or Cardinals or another team or all of them, here’s what would happen If the season ended today, your Colorado Rockies would be firmly in the postseason (save me the semantics; MLB recognizes the Wild Card as such!) and would be set to face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Wild Card Game in Phoenix. Unfortunately, the season doesn’t end today, so the struggling Rockies have to play out the string in order to find out their postseason fate. With nine games remaining and the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in striking distance, the race is far from over, and we could wind up seeing some wild scenarios take place in the standings. We’re here to sort it all out for you. Here’s a list of things that could happen and how they’ll play out: Rockies, Brewers, Cardinals, or Cubs win NL WC2 The winner faces the Diamondbacks in Phoenix in the Wild Card Game on Oct. 4. Simple, right? Let’s move past that (but not before I note that if the Cardinals end up surpassing the Brewers and especially the Rockies, I’m quitting baseball forever) ... Rockies and Brewers finish tied for NL WC2 Because the Rockies won the head-to-head season series over the Brewers, 4-3, Colorado would host a tiebreaker at Coors Field on Oct. 2, with the winner moving on to Arizona. Rockies and Cardinals finish tied for NL WC2 Because the Cardinals won the head-to-head season series over the Rockies, 4-2, St. Louis would host a tiebreaker at Busch Stadium on Oct. 2, with the winner moving on to Arizona. Rockies, Brewers, and Cardinals finish tied for NL WC2 These next few still have some things that need to play out because the Brewers and Cardinals have one more series against each other remaining. But as of right now, here’s how this works: Club B at Club A on Oct. 2 Club C at Winner of A-B on Oct. 3 for the right to move on to Arizona How are A, B, and C determined? Winning percentages against the other two teams involved in the tiebreaker. So, if the season ended today with these three teams tied, here are those winning percentages: Brewers: .521 Cardinals: .500 Rockies: .462 The Brewers would have first choice for the designation, followed by the Cards and Rox. Milwaukee could choose to be Club A in order to get a guaranteed home game, or it could pick Club C so that it only has to play one tiebreaking contest. For the purpose of clarity, let’s say the Brewers choose to host the guaranteed home game and the Cardinals opt to play only one game, leaving the Rockies to travel to Milwaukee on Oct. 2, giving them an opportunity to win and host St. Louis on Oct. 3. Again, with the Cards and Brewers set to end the regular season with a three-game set, this picture could change dramatically. If the Brewers win two of three, the scenario stays the same as it is now. But, if Milwaukee sweeps the series, Colorado would jump ahead of St. Louis in the above designation. If the Cardinals win two of three, they would leapfrog the Brewers for the top spot. And if the Redbirds earn a sweep, they would rise to the top while the Rox and Brew Crew would end up tied for the second spot, meaning the Rockies would win out in that scenario due to their season series victory over the Brewers. Rockies finish tied with top two NL Central teams (any two of Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals) This one is a bit of a long shot at this point because the Cubs have 4 1⁄2 and 5-game leads over the Brewers and Cardinals, respectively, but it’s still possible especially when considering those three teams all still have to play one another head-to-head. There is still so much left to play out, but here’s how it looks right now: The two NL Central teams, on Oct. 2 at the home ballpark of the team with the best head-to-head record, would play a tiebreaker to determine the division champion, which would advance to the NLDS. The losing team would then travel to Denver on Oct. 3 to face the Rockies in a [...]

Rockies have only one thing left to do: Win



Tyler and Anthony talk the stretch run plus some off-the-field stuff that has gone on the last couple of days.

Holy smokes, apparently Nicole is really going to go through with this! Anthony's getting married to a good and decent human woman on Saturday! So on Thursday, we sat in the Arizona sun and sweated our faces off to basically bring you a podcast consisting of content along the lines of "hope the Rockies win." There isn't a whole lot left to say about the 2017 baseball season heading into its final nine days. At this stage, they just need to win. Doesn't make for much exciting podcast material ... BUT!

We find some anyway. Anthony puts together a lineup of himself, Nicole, and his eight groomsmen (Tyler is the three-hole hitter but is relegated to DH). We also dive headlong into the Rockies' new videoboard and the issue of fan safety and expanded netting at Coors Field. It's the 117th episode of the Purple Dinosaur Podcast. Stuff it into a tuxedo and walk down an aisle with it!

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Who should be the National League MVP?



We’ve presented the case for our guys. Now who wins it?

This week we published the arguments for Nolan Arenado and for Charlie Blackmon for the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player award. Personally, I think the authors made excellent cases that are pretty hard to argue with but now we want to hear from you.

We took a quick survey of the Purple Row staff—writers, editors, and moderators—and came up with the following results. We followed MLB’s voting procedures (14 points for a first place vote, 9 for second, 8 for third, 7 for fourth, and 6 for fifth), though we limited it to the top five players, rather than top 10 like the BBWAA voters have. Ten respondents yielded the following results:

Only Charlie Blackmon, Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado, and Paul Goldschmidt received first place votes, though Joey Votto did receive a number of second place votes. Said someone who put Stanton first:

Stanton right now is the best combination of elite offense (158 wRC+) paired with great defense (+10 DRS) in the league. I don't care that he's not on a contending team because that isn't his fault.

Despite fewer first place votes, Nolan leapfrogged Goldschmidt on the strength of a lot of second place votes. Interestingly enough, the Purple Row staff believes that the actual voters will name Paul Goldschmidt as the 2017 National League MVP; 80% of respondents put him there

But more importantly, what do you think? Who would you name as this year’s MVP and who do you think will end up winning it?

The Rockies’ advantage over the Brewers in the Wild Card race


Rockies news and links for September 22, 2017 The Rockies’ Big Advantage in the Wild Card Race | FanGraphs BaseballThe Brewers are certainly making these last couple weeks of the season, uh, fun. But Dave Cameron lays out some reasons why Rockies fans should be confident as confident now as we were way back on June 17. For one, the Rockies play more home than road games, while the opposite is true for the Brewers. And the Rockies schedule is easier overall as well. With schedule factored in, FanGraphs projects the Rockies to finish with a .513 winning percentage, and it pegs the Brewers at .454. The Rockies have some things working in their favor. None of it will matter, of course, if the Rockies don’t manage to score another run in 2017. Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon not ready to ponder 200-hit milestone or MVP talk | The Denver PostCharlie Blackmon is having one of the best position player seasons in Rockies history. Unsurprisingly, he's not that interested in dwelling on that right now. As he tells Patrick Saunders, contributing to the team on their way to the postseason is what matters most right now. Rockies' rotation set up well for stretch run | MLB.comTracy Ringolsby notes that the Rockies, who rode rookie starting pitchers early in the season, are likely going to rely on veterans down the stretch. Germán Márquez will probably be the sole rookie starter for the remainder of the season, while Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis, and possibly Tyler Chatwood round things out. Rockies say they will extend netting in 2018 | MLB.comThe Rockies announced that they'll extend netting next season. According to Thomas Harding, the Rockies said that the change was planned prior to a girl getting hit with a foul ball in New York on Wednesday. Rocktober Skies: How a “band of brothers” became Colorado’s greatest baseball team | BSN RockiesThe best part of this is Bud Black's begrudged acknowledgment that Game 163 was, in fact, "a great game." It's hard to blame him. It was the closest Black ever came to reaching the postseason as manager of the Padres, and the spoilers didn't even look to be in the race at the beginning of September. Drew Creasman and Jake Shapiro also have a lot of excellent stories from a couple players who don't recall the game with a hint of bitterness, Cory Sullivan and Ryan Spilborghs. ‘ROCKTOBER’ REVISITED: Rockies sweep away Dodgers, set sights on Padres | Mile High SportsMile High Sports is retro-recapping Rockies games from September, 2007. Here, they look at a 9-4 win over the Dodgers. It capped off a series that saw the Rockies rise from fourth to third place in the NL West. Devastation. 5-3, Cubs beat Brewers. | Brew Crew BallGo. Cubs. Cardinals complete sweep of Reds, behind 14 hits (and 7 walks) in 8-5 win | Viva El BirdosDon't look now, but the Cardinals are a half-game behind the Brewers and just 1.5 games behind the Rockies. [...]

Rockies shut out again, lose 3-0 to Padres


The offense hasn’t scored in two games. I never thought the Colorado Rockies would be a borderline playoff team whose hopes might be undone by bad offense. There are probably very few people who thought that. And yet here we are, as the Rockies lost their fourth straight game and were shut out for the second game in a row in a 3-0 loss to the San Diego Padres. The return of good Tyler Anderson continues to be a welcome development for the Rockies. The lefty once again reminded us of his fine 2016 form, keeping hitters off balance and forcing lots of soft contact. Unfortunately a hapless Rockies offense left his margin for error razor thin, and just a couple mistakes cost him. Christian Villanueva made Anderson pay for a pitch up in the zone with a home run in the 5th inning of this game. Then, in the 6th inning, Manuel Margot reached and worked his way around to third base via a sacrifice bunt and stolen base. He scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hunter Renfroe. Villanueva then struck again with an RBI single. That’s not to say the Rockies didn’t have their chances. Unfortunately a number of chances with men on base disappeared via the double play early in this one. Then, in the 8th inning, the team blew its best chance by far. DJ LeMahieu batted with runners on first and second and one out. He grinded through a 12-pitch at-bat against reliever Kirby Yates, and as it happened it felt like a defining moment in the game. Unfortunately Yates won the battle, striking out LeMahieu on a low changeup. Nolan Arenado then had a chance to deliver the big hit and add to his MVP resume. He also could not come through, grounding into a force out to end the threat. The Colorado Rockies did not score in nine innings of baseball against the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. That lame effort followed a game in which they scored zero runs in nine innings of baseball against the San Francisco Giants. It’s amazing to think about it, but the following statement is true: the Rockies are in a playoff race and they have very good pitching, and they still might not make it. It’s hard to stomach a result like this. For the Rockies to get the start they did from Anderson should have been more than enough. They just needed a mediocre offensive output, a below average one even, to take a lead and make it stand up. To go quietly because your offense was a disaster is especially unpleasant, especially for this franchise. Unfortunately that has happened a lot this season. Here’s the good news. The Milwaukee Brewers, who entered the night one game back of the Rockies for the second wild card spot, gagged up another late lead. They gave up a tying run in the 9th inning and then lost to the Chicago Cubs by a final score of 5-3. Sad less be darned, the Rockies remain one game up and in control of a playoff spot. The series against the Padres continues on Friday night as Jon Gray takes the mound opposite former Rockies great Jordan Lyles. With fewer than 10 games left and a match-up with Lyles, we can officially hit the panic button if the bats don’t get on track in that one. [...]