DENVER – “It’s a great opportunity but at the end of the day we just gotta win games and gotta win series,” Carlos Gonzalez said Friday afternoon, ahead of key three game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“At this point, it’s all about us,” he continued. “The only way we can take care of it is by winning games… (the key is to) win, you gotta win… you gotta win series.”
The Rockies got swept.
It is probably unwise to write the Rockies off just yet. They still would go to the postseason for the first time since 2009 if the MLB season ended Monday. But this latest series was just a small portion of what has been a long stretch of horrible play.
Colorado was once 21 games above .500. Now it’s just eight. Their record since June 21 is 25-38— a winning percentage of .397—the worst in the National League.
Maybe the most concerning part about the Rockies recently have been their home series losses. One to the Milwaukee Brewers, who chase them, and another by the team they’re chasing, the Diamondbacks.
Colorado not only had the opportunity to make a huge push towards the postseason in the past few weeks, they could’ve all but secured their seeding.
“We didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to gain some games and that’s for sure but it is what it is,” slumping star Nolan Arenado said. “The season isn’t over and we’ve got 20-plus games left… we’re not out of it and we all understand that we need to get going. There needs to be a little bit better intent, we need to get going.”
“It is what it is,” former All-Star Ian Desmond said. “A little bit of a wake-up call, a little bit of a gut check. We’re going to see who we are, this is a character builder. In my career, I’ve used everything whether it be a success or a failure as a tool to get better and that’s what we need to do as a team. Address the weakness we have and move forward.”
The series was what it was.
They didn’t get going.
It’s not as if any of these games or any of these games even outside of the two teams around the Rockies have come in that tough of environments. In the midst of a nine-game home stand, the Rockies have fallen to 1-5.
The reality is that they blew their biggest chance. It’s gone. They’re not getting it back, and they know it.
“I feel like we’ve been in a funk for the last month-and-a-half,” Arenado said, “I think it’s about time we start playing to our capability but that’s to be seen.”
“We’re all frustrated, I don’t know if it’s boiled over but we’re all frustrated,” All-Star DJ LeMahieu said. “There’s no reason to be playing like the way we are.”
Arizona now leads Colorado by 6.5 games and Milwaukee trails Colorado by 0.5 games. This is the first time since April 15 Colorado’s positioning for a playoff spot has dwindled down to a game or less. Moving forward, like they are doing, the question is no longer will the Rockies host the Wild Card Game but rather will the Rockies even make the playoffs.
“Keep playing,” Desmond said. “It sucks right now but fortunately we have time left. You just gotta keep believing in who we are as players and what we’ve done all year as players and keep going. Keep our heads down and keep pushing. It’s a marathon and we’re not at the finish line yet. We’ve been chugging along pretty well all year.”
If the Rockies ought to go to the postseason they’re going to have to out play the Brewers. It’s that simple. The fact of the matter is the Rockies haven’t outplayed anyone except for the tanking Chicago White Sox since the middle of June and the evidence to suggest they can bully their bats out of one of the worst slumps in franchise history is fleeting.
The rookie arms and expensive bullpen have held almost all year; the veteran lineup, however, has looked like Dorothy lately, trotting through Oz, unable to find home.
In their last four games, a small but extreme sample, the Rockies are 2-for-32 with RISP and have left 33 men on base.
“I think all of us got here because we’ve pushed ourselves really hard,” Desmond said. “You don’t get to the top of the mountain by taking it easy, nobody does. You gotta keep going, you gotta keep playing. The big hit isn’t coming and it’s going to come and when it does we’re gonna roll. Until then we gotta keep going.”
The Rockies can try to salvage this homestand with a sweep of the struggling San Francisco Giants, but they’re going to need to play like they haven’t in months if they’re going to salvage their postseason hopes. They’re now in a dog fight, not a marathon.
“We know where we are at in the standings but that’s not what matters,” Arenado said. “What matters is what’s in front of us, we can’t see the future. We need to win tomorrow. That’s what we gotta start doing.”