Here’s a challenge to the Colorado Rockies: Don’t let the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose magic number to clinch the National League West now sits at just three, secure their third-consecutive division crown from here at Coors Field.
Colorado embarks on its final home stand of a very disappointing 2015 season on Friday, with the final game of the home schedule playing out on Sunday afternoon. The three-game series might include the most important games that will be played in that time span.
CU plays Nicholls State, a team that hasn’t won a game in nearly two years. Colorado State is at Texas San Antonio, a C-USA team that is currently 0-3. Air Force has the weekend off to recover from a tough loss at No. 2 Michigan State. And the Avalanche will drop the puck on game No. 3 of the preseason just about the time the Rockies will be putting the finishing touches on their home docket for the year.
The Broncos don’t kick off in Detroit until the Rockies should have recorded the final out at Coors Field in 2015, one we hope occurs in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday, so all the focus can be on the boys in purple pinstripes to salvage something out of this lost season.
On Thursday, the Rockies were swept by former manager Clint Hurdle and the Pirates, blowing an eighth inning lead, the day after watching Pittsburgh celebrate its own playoff-clinching celebration on their turf.
To add insult to the injury of the fans and players, Colorado rolled out the proverbial red carpet for the Pirates to help them celebrate. The players can’t allow that to happen with the Dodgers.
This year has been one that has seen the team again slide to the bottom of baseball (they currently hold the No. 3 position for the 2016 draft), claim the worst ERA in baseball by a wide margin, and saw longtime fan favorite Troy Tulowitzki leave town in an on-again, off-again, drawn-out and awkward trade scenario that netted the team a replacement shortstop who made no bones about wanting out of Colorado as soon as possible.
Despite bright spots like Nolan Arenado’s season on both sides of the ball, D.J. LeMahieu’s stellar first half, Carlos Gonzalez’s scorching July and another steady (but injury-riddled) year for Jorge De La Rosa, it’s been another abominable year at 20th and Blake. On their current path, the 2015 Rockies will finish with the third-worst season in franchise history (and could eclipse last year’s second-worst effort if they continue to slide as they have done of late).
That’s why they need to sweep the Dodgers.
Send George Frazier, the longtime television color man who is retiring at the end of the season, out of Coors Field on a high note. Give fans some reason to be excited about a core of players (listed above) who just need some halfway-decent pitching to support them. Give those same guys from above, who are probably wondering why they couldn’t have been drafted just a spot or two higher by the Astros or Royals when all three teams stunk, some reason to think 2016 is worth training hard for during the offseason. Give the media a reason to stop penning the “get us to Broncos Training Camp” columns year after year after year.
The great news is, the Rockies have a chance to do it.
Friday they face Mike Bolsinger. Bolsinger lasted just 4 1/3 innings his last start, and has a 6.23 ERA in his last three starts. According to MLB.com, “he doesn’t feel the same since being sent down to Triple-A in July.” Go get a win to open the series.
Saturday they get former-Rockies starter Brett Anderson. Anderson surrendered two home runs in his last outing to add to his team-high 17. MLB.com says, “Anderson is a ground-ball master but struggles when he leaves the ball up in the zone.” There’s no place more likely for that to happen than Coors Field. Make Saturday the day Nolan Arenado reclaims the NL lead in home runs from Bryce Harper.
To wrap it up Sunday, they get Alex Wood. MLB.com says, “Wood pitched well but took the loss in his last outing against the D-backs. He’s alternated wins and losses in his last eight starts.” The Rockies need to break that pattern and send the Dodgers to San Francisco to finish the job against the team they rightfully should beat to claim the division.
No Clayton Kershaw. No Zack Greinke. No reason the Rockies shouldn’t hitch up their stirrups and sweep the Dodgers right out of Coors Field and resurrect some semblance of pride on the 2015 season.
Now, San Francisco could spoil it all and get swept themselves at Oakland this weekend, making a Rockies sweep moot. But if you’re going to let a team celebrate a playoff berth on your turf, it should be of the backdoor variety. Don’t let the Dodgers pop champagne because they ran you off the field. And certainly don’t pour it for them.
The 2015 Rockies season may be lost, but there’s no reason to keep on losing at Coors Field. Come on, Colorado. Don’t let the Dodgers clinch here.