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Woody Paige: Colorado Rockies can't win the NL West, but they have a great chance to win wildcard

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Posted at 3:26 PM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 11:08:30-04

The National League West division championship race is over before entering the stretch.

The Dodgers have turned into Secretariat.

In horse-racing parlance, the Rockies showed early speed and set the pace, but have fallen back and been passed by a thoroughbred with a blazing finish.

The Rox now must not totally fade. They have to hang on for place or show.

The worst the Rockies can do is end up as an also-ran whose burst out of the gate is left and forgotten in the dust.

Forget about the Dodgers. They’ve moved ahead so far they can barely see the Rockies in their rear-view mirror.  The Rockies can’t catch ‘em. The Dodgers will get to 100 victories. The Rockies’ vision of 90-plus victories was just a mirage.

The Rox record still is impressive despite the June Swoon that has crept well into July.  They are 12 games above .500 (53-41) and have every opportunity to make a post-season run – and get in the money.

And their number should be 88. If the Rockies win 35 of their remaining 68, they likely would be rewarded with the first wild-card spot.

It’s not a title, but it would be a major (league) accomplishment for a club that has wallowed in a quagmire for practically all of this decade.

(That pennant the franchise once hung in the infancy of Coors Field was an embarrassment.  "Colorado Rockies – 1995 Wild Card Champions"). I suppose it was better than a participation ribbon, but "Champions"?

Hate to give a spoiler, but the Rockies will not be National League West Division Champions for the 25th straight season – the entirety of the team’s history.

But, do not give up hope, all those who enter here, despite what Dante’s Inferno informed us. And that wasn’t Dante Bichette.

Look on the positive side of life for the Rockies.

Starting Monday night, in the rest of the schedule, the Rockies have 28 home games against teams that currently are .500 or below.

The Rockies’ concern is to wind up with above the Diamondbacks, who have been declining as badly as the Rockies. Arizona is only one game ahead of Colorado after the week.

Snakes Or Bust!

The Rockies really don’t want that one-game playoff to be in Phoenix, and confronting veteran Zack Greinke with one of their own Rookie Rox. Greinke has an 11-4 record this season has won 85 of his past 111 games.

The Rockies also have three more home games against the Diamondbacks during the regular season and maybe will get lucky and miss the Zach Attack.

The Rox need that extra game in Denver.

So they beat up on the weak links, especially the P’s – the Padres (next three), then the Pirates and soon the Phillies, and the Padres some more later. They also have the Mets, the woeful Giants, the Marlins, the downtrodden Tigers and those .500 Braves who are trying to create noise.

Win 20 of the 28, take two of three from the D-Backs here and maybe two of three in Arizona, grab a few in San Diego and San Francisco, and the Rockies can reach that 88 plateau – a Pikes Peak sort of season.

However, they are, as seamheads like to stay, mired in a slump.

That’s why there have to be changes.

The Rockies, manager Bud Black, pitching coach Steve Foster and, especially, general manager Jeff Bridich are trying to protect The Young Guns – Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, Antonio Sensatela and German Marquez.

But, while limiting their innings, which is understandable, the Rockies have fouled with their rotation.

That’s why it’s imperative that the Rockies trade for a veteran who can step into the starting five and give the rooks some time off. And the Rockies must deal for a veteran reliever who can maybe Gorilla Glue that bullpen that has fallen apart for longer than a month. The National just pried two relievers away from the A’s, and we saw the Cubs make a magnificent trade with the White Sox for a pitcher who was outstanding in a start in LoDo right before the break.

The Rockies always believe in their minor-league prized prospects, but, sometimes you have to play for today, not tomorrow. The Rockies have to give up four futures in order to get two presents.

The stakes race has been lost, but the Derby can be won.