The last time the Milwaukee Brewers visited Coors Field, they finished their regular season against the Colorado Rockies with no hope of making it to the postseason; the Rockies were in the same position.

What a difference a year makes.

After both front offices made great strides in the offseason and leading up to the trade deadline, they’re in heated contention to chase the National League wild card spot as the season’s end is fast approaching.

Following their three-game series at Coors Field this past weekend, the Rockies lead the NL Wild Card race at 68-56; the Brewers aren’t far behind at 65-60.

“It’s a great time for both both clubs. This late in the season, competing for a playoff spot is fun and so is what you work for,” Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said.

The obvious improvement on both sides from last year would be the improved pitching staffs. After adding the fresh arms of a slew of rookies and a couple sophomores, talent now runs deep in the Rockies’ starting rotation.

“Pitching-wise, everything really matters. It’s not ‘go out and see what you do,’ it’s a whole lot of buckling down and throwing zeros. Guys know that and guys are all about their business right now. I feel like everybody’s finding their role, whether it’s in the bullpen or the starting rotation,” Rockies starter Jon Gray said. “Everything’s starting to come together and everyone’s doing a great job here. The young guys have been terrific so far.”

In the other dugout, the Brewers have put themselves back into contention with the help of some crucial additions.

“I think we created a lot more balance in our lineup. I think some of our starters have taken a big step forward, and specifically chasing Jimmy Nelson, we’ve taken big steps forward,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Guys like Eric Thames and Travis [Shaw] have given us some balance in the lineup. That’s been an important part of our success this year. In the bullpen, it’s been Corey [Knebel’s] emergence; he’s been outstanding and has been one of the top relievers in the game.”

Although the two teams are practically neck-and-neck right now, Rockies manager Bud Black appreciates the great strides his opponent has made in pursuit of a playoff spot.

“They’ve done a really nice job of putting a team together that is talented and got some momentum early and carried it through,” Black said. “They had a little bit of a hiccup post-All-Star break, but they’ve seemed to have righted the ship a little bit.”

Milwaukee’s resurgence wasn’t expected to come this fast – a fact that’s known in the clubhouse.

“It’s great,” outfielder Keon Broxton said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we’re building Rome pretty fast. The team’s coming together pretty well and we all mesh well together, we play well together and we account for each other, so it’s a growing process. It’s been fun and it’s looking good.”

The Brewers did look good over the weekend, taking two of three games from Colorado. They are now just 2.5 games behind Arizona for the second Wild Card berth.