Which Na­tional League team is the big­gest threat to the Rock­ies’ play­off hopes?

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING -

Kiz: OK, that eight-game los­ing streak was ei­ther sober­ing … or enough to drive a Rock­ies fan to drink, with a here-we-swoon-again lament. Lis­ten, I think 87 vic­to­ries will get this team a wild-card berth, and play­ing .500 ball in the sec­ond half of the sea­son gets that done. But should the Rock­ies be look­ing in the rearview mir­ror at a chal­lenger sneak­ing up be­hind them?

Groke: This NL is bad, Kiz. Like burnt-ker­nels-at-the-bot­tom-of-a-pop­corn-box bad. The only thing worse is the NBA’s East­ern Con­fer­ence (holy cow, now THAT’S bad). Un­til the end of June, the worst team in the Amer­i­can League, the Oakland A’s, was closer to a wild card than the top team out of con­tention in the NL, the Chicago Cubs. Only a mas­sive, em­bar­rass­ing tank job can keep the Rock­ies out of the play­offs.

Kiz: The chance of Colorado catch­ing the Dodgers and win­ning the divi­sion is so slim it’s not even worth talk­ing about. But the Rock­ies still have a 68 per­cent chance of mak­ing the play­offs, ac­cord­ing to the com­puter pro­jec­tions of FanGraphs. Maybe the best thing Colorado has go­ing for it is this: Out­side of the West, the Na­tional League is amaz­ingly medi­ocre this year. There might not be more than seven teams that fin­ish the sea­son with a win­ning record.

Groke: The team Rock­ies fans should be root­ing for is Mil­wau­kee. If the Brew­ers play well enough, they might keep the Cubs or Car­di­nals from break­ing away with snow­balling mo­men­tum. Mil­wau­kee is not scary. But that Cubs ros­ter is wor­thy of an­other World Se­ries run. Even if the Cubs win the divi­sion, keep­ing the sec­ond-place team in the Cen­tral from gain­ing steam would re­ally help Colorado’s chances.

Kiz: My guess is Mil­wau­kee will fade af­ter the all-star break, while the Cubs will fi­nally emerge from the fog of their World Se­ries hang­over and win the NL Cen­tral. I’ve got a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion the team Colorado will need to hold off for the sec­ond wild-card berth is St. Louis. The Car­di­nals’ start­ing ro­ta­tion of Car­los Martinez, Adam Wain­wright, Lance Lynn, Mike Leake and Michael Wacha is stronger than the kid­die corps in LoDo. Pitch­ing al­ways mat­ters. It mat­ters more in Septem­ber.

Wil­fredo Lee, As­so­ci­ated Press file

The Chicago Cubs and Kris Bryant have yet to find their stride. How the team does in the sec­ond half could have an im­pact on the Rock­ies.

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