August 21, 2008
The 2008 Colorado Rockies are either eternal optimists or wildly delusional. It depends on your point of view. Watching the Rockies overpower the Dodgers in La-La Land on Tuesday night, I couldn't help but flash back to last season's impossible dream. Prodigious homers, a shutdown bullpen and a hint of lost swagger caught my eye.
After Tuesday's victory, Ian Stewart, who's wielding his bat as if it were Excalibur, said the Rockies still have six weeks to do something. But do they really? Let's do some number crunching and find out.
After beating the Dodgers on Wednesday night, the Rockies are 59-69, eight games behind Arizona in the National League West. After 128 games last year, the Rockies were 65-63, in fourth place in the NL West, 6½ games out of first. Hmm, maybe the Rockies really can do this. Then again, look at what the Rockies had to do in their last 35 games in 2007 (remember, they had to play 163 to clinch the wild card). They won 25 of their last 35, including 14 of their last 15.That's an incredibly high bar, but teams have cleared it before.
There is no way the Rockies will capture the wild card this year, meaning their only gate to the postseason goes through the NL West. That means beating out both the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
The Rockies have shown they can beat L.A., but they are 2-10 vs. the Diamondbacks. And even if the Rockies swept their final six games from Arizona, they would need a lot of help. Suppose the Diamondbacks finish the season 84-78, meaning they would lose as many as they win down the stretch. To catch them, the Rockies would have to go 25-9. In other words, they need a repeat feat.
Trouble is, they say lightning never strikes twice, and the Rockies used up a mighty big lightning bolt last season.