The Rockies fought their way through a tough week, sweeping the Giants in a three-game series at Coors Field, then dropping two of three games to the Dodgers over the weekend. It has become a battle royal between the Rockies, the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks to capture the Western Division title. It now comes down to the last 20 games of the regular season with seven-games left with the Diamondbacks and three more with the Dodgers.
The Rockies offense will be a key in this final push. There have been some personal funks lately but overall the key players are delivering. Nolan Arenado is currently batting .297 with 32 homeruns and 95 RBI. Trevor Story has been a star at the plate batting .293 with 31 homeruns and 96 RBI (including a three-homer game in Wednesday’s 5-3 win over the Giants). Although the “experts” continue to criticize his performance, Ian Desmond despite a batting average of .230 is third on the list of RBI contributors with 20 homeruns and 78 RBI.
An interesting side note to the Rockies offensive production can be seen by looking at the home/road splits. At home they have hit a total of 93 homeruns while recording 256 extra base hits. On the road they have hit 88 homeruns while recording 203 extra base hits. So much for the “light air” homerun myth of Coors Field advantage. Where the Rockies have the advantage at home is not in launching homeruns but in driving balls into the gaps in the most expansive outfield in the major leagues.
In order to grab that Division title which has eluded the team for 25 years, the offense will have to pick up the pace. But the primary requirement will be continued excellence from the young starting rotation and their backups in the bullpen. German Marquez and Kyle Freeland have consistently performed well into the seventh inning. Tyler Anderson, Antonio Senzatela and even John Gray have been disturbingly inconsistent. Their problems so far have been covered by offensive production and a tough bullpen, particularly the “O Boys” – Seunghwan Oh, Scott Oberg and premier set up man Adam Ottavino who should receive serious attention for the comeback player of the year award. Recently the real plus has been the solid performance of Scott Oberg. Not many people are aware that Scott leads all Rockies relievers with 200 appearances since 2015. After rejoining the team, he had a rough April but since May he has a 6-0 record with a 1.24 ERA, the lowest ERA among National League relievers with a minimum of 25 innings during that time.
So here we go. This week features a crucial four-game series at Coors Field with the Arizona Diamondbacks. On the weekend the Rockies will travel to San Francisco for their final three-games of the season with the Giants.
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