Ladies and gentlemen it’s time to kick the tires on the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Spring Training is a month long version of Christmas Eve, with the 7 months following March as the extended Christmas Day. These Colorado Rockies have been waiting for April 3rd as much as the fans, today we take an in-depth look at the schedule.
Even though the Rockies limp into the season with a myriad of injuries, this first month will be a strong start. The club opens the season on the road in Milwaukee before heading to Coors Field for their home opener against the Dodgers. Also making a trip to the Mile High is 2016 NL East Champs the Washington Nationals. April will be dominated with NL West opponents though, playing 18 of 26 games against Los Angeles, San Francisco, Arizona, and San Diego.
May has a couple of highlights, including visits from the NL Central as both the St. Louis Cardinals and World Series champ Chicago Cubs come to town. Each for a three game set. It’s June that paints the scary scene for a team looking to contend. They will face off with both World Series participants in the same week. Getting Cleveland at home for two, before heading off to Chi-Town for 4 against the Cubs.
But the end of June will really determine how close or how far away the ballclub is from contending. Over a two-week span to end the month, they play the Dodgers and Giants 10 times. Barring any more setbacks on the injury front, the club should be healthy and at full strength. This important stretch may not only determine postseason aspirations, it will also determine the fate of Carlos Gonzalez as a Colorado Rockie. If the team falters, look for CarGo trade rumors to ramp up starting now.
Outside of the All-Star Game, July flies by with no significant series. But right around the corner those dog days of August start to peek their head out. In August, if the team is still hovering in contention for the division or a wild card spot, they will have their best chance to strike. From a winning percentage standpoint, August is the weak spot in the Rockies schedule. If this team is truly a contender, they will need to take care of business against lesser teams. 17 to 19 wins will be the benchmark for this team to make August a success.
Fall baseball comes in like a lion for September as the Rockies play the entire NL West 25 out of 28 games to wrap up the season. If the end of June and August go as planned, September will be the final push for postseason baseball. With 12 games against the upper-echelon of the division, the division and wild-card spots will both be in play. The ideal situation would be the Rockies controlling their own fate heading into the final weekend, at home against the Dodgers.
It’s going to take at least 86 wins to be in the mix for a wild-card berth. And 90 or more to contend for the division title. Both of these numbers are achievable with this team. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see that the same obstacles stand in front of this team. What makes this year different is better talent that’s better equipped to succeed. The pitching is better, the bullpen is better, and the managing is better. The schedule leaves some great opportunity for success the way August fell, hopefully this team takes full advantage.