The Colorado Rockies are heating up at just the right time, completing a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers – the first at Dodger Stadium since 1993 – and winning six of their last seven. With 19 games left in the season, the Rockies are holding onto a three-game lead for the second Wild Card spot over the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.

However, there’s been plenty of reason to worry that the Rockies, who have been in the playoff picture all season, were going to run out of steam before the end of September.

“A week ago, I probably wouldn’t have been this optimistic,” Minnesota Twins scout Ed Henderson told Joe Rico on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 Sunday. “The Rockies were struggling through this [recent] home stand. Three and six, a pretty dismal performance here at Coors Field. It looked kind of bleak.”

The Rockies season has stayed alive because of the pitching staff. Despite starting four rookie pitchers regularly throughout the year, the quality of the pitching has improved when compared to previous seasons. A lot of the credit for this success can be given to Bud Black, according to Henderson.

“Looking across the spectrum of players brought in this year, I think Bud has done a very good job in terms of advancing their development sooner than you might have expected,” Henderson said. “Young arms take a while to develop. I think what Bud has been able to do through his own background, his own experience, is to really make that a little easier for these guys had they been on this path with another manager. It’s been a phenomenal job.”

The Rockies are looking to put together their first winning September since 2009, where they went 18-9 and finished with a Wild Card berth. Doing so requires a stronger focus than fans have seen from the team in years past. Black and General Manager Jeff Bridich can both be credited with making the team more resilient.

“Jeff and Bud deserve a lot of credit. It’s easy when things are not going well to point at the manager and point at the GM and criticize them for what has or has not happened,” Henderson said.

The big difference this year has been the team’s ability to come back from losing streaks.

“I know there’s folks who say ‘well, they went through that lousy homestand and that really diminished their chances,’ and yes it did. But they’re resilient, and they’ve bounced back,” he said.

The Rockies’ resiliency has seen them turn a lousy homestand into a sweep of the team with the best record in baseball. Henderson believes that how the Rockies perform for the last 19 games will speak to how they play in the postseason.

“I often think that the teams that have the pressure on them all the way through the last few weeks of the season and rise above it are the teams that are best poised to go into the postseason and do well.”

The Rockies start a four-game series at the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday. It will be their last regular-season series against the Diamondback for the 2017 season.

Listen to the full interview with Ed Henderson, including who he thinks the NL MVP will be and how he thinks the American League playoffs will shape out, in the podcast below.

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Catch The Final Word with Joe Rico and Alex Ramirez every Sunday from 10a-12p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.