We all expected this weekend series between the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies would be sending one team to the post-season — but it is not the Nationals, it is possibly the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies control their own fate as they have a 1.0 game lead atop the NL West division over the Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Rockies sweep the Nationals, they win the NL West and head to the NLDS. If the Rockies win 2-of-3 this weekend, they know that worst case they would get a Wild Card spot or they could finish in a tie for the NL West. The three teams alive and in the hunt are Colorado, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the St. Louis Cardinals. For the Nationals, they are front and center with a chance to play spoiler. The Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants who are sending Madison Bumgarner to the mound.
The Nats need to win one game this weekend to assure a winning season although they have already guaranteed themselves that they also cannot have a losing season as the team cannot finish any worse than 81-81 as well as they are guaranteed to finish in second place in the NL East with an outside chance they could finish in a 2nd place tie with the Phillies who are 78-81. It won’t be an easy task to win this weekend against the highly motivated Rockies who are sending their top two pitchers to the mound tonight and tomorrow. The Nationals are pitching Joe Ross tonight and have not announced their starters for Saturday and Sunday. Max Scherzer still lines up for Sunday, but no decision has been made yet.
The Rockies have several players who are en fuego like David Dahl who has homered in four straight games. Based on batting average, Carlos Gonzalez is also hot this past week as he is batting near .450 over the last week. Do you remember the false rumors that Trevor Story shredded his elbow? Well, not only was Ken Rosenthal wrong, Story is back after sitting out a few games, and he jacked a 471 foot home run last night which is his 3rd home run this month that flew at least 470 feet.
Tonight, the Rockies send their best pitcher to the mound in Kyle Freeland. Incredibly, Freeland has a 2.84 ERA this season, and he has been one of the hottest pitchers the past 2 months as he is 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA. All of this from a pitcher whose home park is Colorado!
For the Nationals, they are pitching Joe Ross tonight who is working his way back from UCL surgery. No visiting pitcher wants to take the mound in Denver as that is where ERAs usually get inflated. The Nationals will be without Ryan Zimmerman who is nursing a sore back, and he most likely will be sitting out these last 3 games of the season on his birthday. The birthday boy turns 34 today. Speaking of 34, the #34 has his agent, Scott Boras, in attendance this weekend. Is it possible there is a Boras presser this weekend? If Eric Hosmer is FedEx Playoffville, then what is Bryce Harper? Maybe FedEx World Series-ville?
“[Eric Hosmer] is Playoffville Federal Express,” Scott Boras said last off-season. “He can be overnight delivery, one-day, two-day, three-year, whatever. He fits every franchise.”
“[A] team cutting payroll is treating their family where they’re staying in a neighborhood that has less protection,” Scott Boras said. “They’re not living in the gated community of Playoffville. And certainly they’re saving a de minimis property tax, but the reality of it is there is less firemen in the bullpen. There’s less financial analysts sitting in the press boxes. The rooms in their houses are less so obviously you’re going to have less franchise players when you move to that 12-room home in Playoffville.”
Scott Boras is not in Denver to go skiing so stay tuned for whatever he has to say as it well be interesting with the Boras-isms.
Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies
Stadium: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
1st Pitch: 8:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: