Sports panel: What do you think of the Rockies’ playoff chances? | PostIndependent.com

Sports panel: What do you think of the Rockies’ playoff chances?

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

You mean in *2007*?Well, if the planets align correctly … and fresh rotation faces such as Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales pitch with poise (as they’ve shown in bursts), and offensive anchors Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins keep crunching, and rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki keeps demonstrating that he’s the second coming of Cal Ripken, and Kaz Matsui doesn’t get blown into Kansas, and Todd Helton remembers how to get an extra base hit …… then the Rockies will *still* probably miss the playoffs – that is, if the Phillies quit pissing away games, as I imagine they will. But at least the Rocks will feel like they gave it a run. They’ve got a good shot for ’08.

Here’s my “timeline” for “What do you think of the Rockies’ chances to make the playoffs?”Thursday, Sep 6 – received Jeff’s e-mail. I’m not good at predictions … right now – absolutely NO CHANCE, but I’ll stall.Friday, Sep 7 – Rockies beat the Padres, 10-4.Sat, Sep 8 – Lost 3-1, where are the runs for Francis when he needs them?Sun, Sep 8 – Won 4-2, … I got encouraged … but the “mathematical odds” bring me back to reality! With 19 games left, must they win 12, 14, 16 …?Later, Sunday – NO, there’s no hope – AGAIN – this year. Hurdle “managed” – AGAIN – another contract extension ($$$) “hurdle” so he’ll – AGAIN – this year tell us to “wait until next year” … AGAIN!When a team has talent ($$$), where does the managerial buck ($$$) stop?

After watching this weekend’s series against the Padres, I must say the Rockies have a chance to make the 2007 playoffs. I never thought I would say that in September, but this team is in contention. It is a shock they are still alive to me, not because I am a Rockies hater, but because I know the true goals of the owners. The Momforts are in baseball solely to make money, not to win championships. This is a sad reality for fans who’ve followed the team since 1993. Management has not made a single move to bolster the roster like a contender would normally do. Even if the team makes the playoffs this year, the owners will shop our best players around next year to keep the payroll down. For the Rockies to win a championship, the Momforts must sell and Dan O’Dumb and Clint “Soul Patch” Hurdle need to go.

Unfortunately, the Rockies still do not have the pitching depth necessary to get to the playoffs. They’ve made significant progress this year thanks in large part to the great trade with Houston they made last year (great for Colorado, not for Houston) and the play of Tulowitzki. The Rockies just need a better closer and a few more starting pitchers to support Jeff Francis. Maybe the Astros will be willing to give up some more great players for a pitcher who will only win two games a season for them.

As of Sunday evening, they are only three games out, which since 1996, they have not been this close to a playoff spot. Fun isn’t it? The Rockies are going to need a lot of help, and some luck to pull this off. First, they will need to get a win streak of 7-9 in a row, and wish everyone to play sub-.500 baseball during this period.Second of all, and probably most important of all, is that they get this best pitching that they can get. This will be daunting, as banged up as they are in this area.I feel that the chances of them making the playoffs are at 50 percent at best, but at least they have made it a season to remember.

Playoffs? Leap-frog three teams for Wild Card spot, with the Cubbies and Brew Crew a game behind them – a tough row to hoe (nice agrarian expression, eh?). They hit and field well enough, but have lost two starting pitchers in the last month. Still, they play everyone ahead of them, beginning with a trip to Philly for four; then six with the Marlins and Dodgers at home. If within four or five games in the West by then, destiny’s in their hands: to SD and LA for six, and finish at home with Arizona. Quite a gauntlet, but this team has character – more equipped to make a playoff run than any team since the Blake Street Beer Softball Bombers of ’95 – their only previous postseason team. But hey, I’m a Dodger fan, so ‘wait’ll next year, Rox.’

Rockies in October?With three weeks left in the regular season, the standings in the NL West are getting too close for comfort. Arizona is uncomfortably in first place and San Diego, L.A. Dodgers, and Colorado are all within six games of them. But the question is: Will the Rockies finally make the playoffs? Sadly, the answer is no. Though six games is manageable in three weeks, the Rockies still are not a playoff-caliber team. Colorado may have the weapons to be a great team such as Matt Holliday and rookie Troy Tulowitzki, they just seem to not know how to use them. Colorado will make a push for October, but it may not be enough in the end.

It is going to be really difficult for the Rockies to make the playoffs, but if they are going to do it, they have to be consistent and put together a darn good winning streak.Colorado needs to aim for the Wild Card, since they are playing all three teams ahead of them – the Dodgers, Padres and Phillies.Colorado can easily pass the Dodgers since they play them six times. Then the Rockies have to sweep the Phillies and Padres. In the other games, they have to win each series.To do that, Matt Holliday needs to get on fire and Todd Helton has got to start bringing runners in. The offense has to score a lot of runs to give the Rockies pitchers a chance to stay in every game.

If Sunday’s game against the Padres is any indicator, these Rockies are developing a flair for the dramatic – a key trait of postseason teams. You couldn’t ask for much more: two runners gunned down at the plate, a clutch late-inning homer by MVP candidate Matt Holliday and, most importantly, a win.You need that magic to carry you through.Now if the Rox can just forget their history and believe they’re a contender. They are, after all, pretty much the L.A. Clippers of the National League West. They’re the only club in the circuit without a playoff appearance in the 2000s.But, hey, even the Clippers eventually made the second season.


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