The Colorado Rockies kept pace in the NL West, once again using late heroics to beat San Diego in the series finale.
Colorado now enters the most important home stand of the season. 10 games, all at Coors, all against division opponents, beginning with three against the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
From now until September 23rd, the Rockies play 19 straight games against the division. 19 games that will decide the Rockies postseason fate. While Colorado is just a half-game back of the division-leading Dodgers, they are 2-1/2 back of the final Wild Card spot. That means the NL West will likely only send the division-winner to the playoffs.
Since their sweep of the Atlanta Braves in August, the Rockies have managed only a 5-7 record with too many of those losses coming at the hands of the San Diego Padres. As one Twitter commenter noted: “Stop losing to the Padres”. Postseason aspirations don’t suffer some of the Rox more notorious habits. Losing to bad teams at home, worst-in-the-NL RISP numbers and shaky relief pitching should have the Rockies buried in the division. Here we are, though, in the thick of the race.
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On Sunday, Kyle Freeland took the mound for Colorado after a spectacular August. While he was solid, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs in six innings, he didn’t seem to have the command that’s defined his season. Freeland surrendered two runs in the first. By Freeland’s own admission, he got behind far too many batters on the evening. Still, he got his 13th win and kept Colorado in-touch enough that a seventh-inning rally would give Colorado the lead.
In the fourth, Colorado turned an Arenado single, followed by a Trevor Story double into another run with David Dahl driving Nolan in on a sac-fly. Story would double again in the sixth, driving in DJ LeMahieu. The double from Story was his 69th extra-base hit for the season, eclipsing the franchise mark for extra-base hits set by Troy Tulowitzki.
The Rockies offense would really awaken in the seventh, a leadoff single by Ian Desmond and then walk by Gerardo Parra led to the rare double-steal. Chris Ianetta would clear the pair with a double of his own and Blackmon drove Ianetta in. Colorado 6, San Diego 3. An insurance run in the eighth gave Colorado the final tally of 7-3.
A win but a disappointing split in the series with the 54-85 Padres. Colorado will need to ride the two-game streak into the homestand.
Monday has Tyler Anderson (6-7, 4.79) on the mound, hoping to right his ship. Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 2.68) will throw for the visiting Giants. Here it is Colorado, this is the chance to seize that postgame slot.
A chance to show Nolan Arenado that Colorado remains his best option.