The Colorado Rockies turned heads throughout the course of the 2017 regular season. Through 162 games, new manager Bud Black led the Rockies to the third-most wins in franchise history and propelled the team to their first postseason berth in eight seasons.
Now, with the regular season over, the Rockies are set to enter baseball’s big dance with one of the youngest and most inexperienced rosters in the sport.
Carlos Gonzalez is the only Rockie to have played in a postseason game with the franchise prior to this season, and only a handful of other Rockies have played in the postseason period at all, most of which either signed or were traded to the club earlier this year.
This will be the first trip to the postseason for All-Stars Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and D.J. LeMahieu. In addition, no starting pitcher for the Rockies this season has pitched past the regular season in their careers.
Experience in pressure situations is usually a must for teams with championship aspirations; however, despite his team’s lack of exposure to October baseball, Black firmly believes in his club’s chances this postseason based on talent alone.
Black explained that the tough second-half of the season and the need for so many young players to step up early on mitigates their lack of postseason experience. “It’s great if you have it, but what are you going to do if you don’t? One thing I’ve learned about this team is they’re not scared off [by pressure], and they’ve handled everything put in front of them — so as far as the playoff experience, it won’t matter.”
Wednesday’s game could mark the end of the season — or represent the start of something special for the Rockies’ franchise.
From the get-go, Black and his players have always believed in themselves and realize the potential they have as a unit. That mindset has the Rockies set in their belief that they can compete with anyone, at any given time.
Resiliency has also become something of a trademark for the team this season. With their backs against the wall, and in spite doubters galore, the club managed a way not just to succeed this season, but thrive.
Now, with everything on the line, the story that started last winter is set to meet its next exciting chapter.
A date with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday is the next obstacle in front of the Rockies, and with everything that has transpired this year, Black knows that his players have been waiting for this opportunity on the postseason stage.
“When I interviewed here, and saw what I saw from the other dugout for many years, I knew there were a lot of pieces in place,” Black said. “I didn’t know how it was all going to come together. Learning about this team in the offseason, getting to know this team in spring training — I felt this team had promise. I say it all the time: you never know how a season is going to play out. But once we got into the season, I felt pretty good about this group, and I think they started to understand what type of team they can be — and it worked out to how we thought it could work out.”
The promise that Black spoke of turned into production that carried the Rockies through the regular season. Now, the franchise looks to take its next giant leap.