For the 26th consecutive year, the Colorado Rockies season finished in disappointment. That is, in fact, every season in the franchise’s history. That elusive World Series title remains so, the Rockies coming closest when they swept by the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series at the end of an unforgettable October. Those 11 years seem like a long 11 years.
However, the Rockies reached the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time, and won their 10th playoff game in franchise history in a wild NL Wildcard game at Wrigley Field. It was a season of ebbs and flows. The Rockies couldn’t hit. Then the bullpen fell apart. Then they went 9-1 to finish the season, and tie the LA Dodgers for first place in the NL West. But disappointment reigned, as it does often for Colorado, as they lost game 163, and still the Rocky Mountain club remain without a NL West pennant.
But what a 162 games we had. After a defeat to the San Francisco Giants on the 27th June, the Rockies were 38-42, and sat eight games back from division leaders Arizona. With 46 games against .500 or better teams coming up, who would have thought the Rockies would go 30-16 in that stretch, and storm back into playoff contention? There were unforgettable moments along the way. Trevor Story’s walk off home run prior to the All-Star game, Ryan McMahon’s walk off home run against the LA Dodgers. And later in the year DJ LeMahieu’s walk off bomb against the Diamondbacks. It was a season of great moments, it was a team that could always rally. But there was one story that stood out more than most…
The Colorado Kid
Coors Field is a hitter’s park, or so the story goes. Perhaps that is why Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit 38 and 37 home runs respectively. Enter Kyle Freeland. The Denver kid. The boyhood Rockies fan. The sophomore lefty who threw for a 2.85 ERA and a 17-7 record. Freeland pitched 202.1 innings, giving up just 182 hits and 64 earned runs. He then proceeded to shut out the Chicago Cubs in 6.2 innings pitched in a fervent postseason atmosphere at Wrigley Field. It was almost the storybook ending to a storybook year, but of course sport never follows the script. Freeland didn’t get to pitch at Coors Field in the postseason, as the Rockies were swept 3-0 by the Milwaukee Brewers, as the offensive issues peaked.
Exciting times ahead
The Rockies are certainly in good hands going forward with their young rotation. German Marquez and Kyle Freeland are both aces. Antonio Senzatela proved to be a solid middle of the rotation guy. Jon Gray has ace stuff, but seems to break mentally in crucial moments. And after a difficult couple of months, Tyler Anderson produced two sensational performances in high-pressure games to close out his season. They are just 23, 25, 23, 26 and 28 respectively. The Rockies are in a position to win, and with a couple of shrewd offseason acquisitions to strengthen the offense, lock down Nolan Arenado, and there could be something special on the horizon for this team.