Remember when I predicted that the Phillies would win three of the games against the Braves and stay alive for another few days? That was fun.
Instead, the Phils went 0-4 and managed to get themselves eliminated from playoff contention. So instead of this series being a crucial part of a playoff push, we get four meaningless games against a non-divisional team.
I should specify that the games are meaningless for the Phillies. The Rockies are still fighting for the National League West title, and these games are extremely important for them. Should we get excited by the prospect of the Phillies ruining another team’s playoff hopes? Probably not. If it was a team that the Phillies had any sort of rivalry with, I could see being a little pumped. But the Rockies? Meh.
The Last Time They Met
Back in June, when the Phillies could actually beat good teams (or bad teams for that matter), the Rockies visited Philadelphia for a three-game series, and the Phillies won two of them.
A Quick Update on the Rockies
The Rockies’ playoff hopes appeared to take a huge hit last week when they were swept by the Dodgers. They rebounded this past weekend to provide a sweep of their own over the Diamondbacks, and currently sit 1.5 games back in the West.
Nolan Arenado: Free Agency Beckons
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is arguably the best third baseman in baseball. I was hoping that the Rockies would fall out of contention this year, because it seems plausible that the Rockies would have listened to trade offers. He’s scheduled to be a free agent after the 2019 season, and it isn’t clear if the Rockies are capable or willing to pay him what he will surely fetch on the open market.
I like Maikel Franco, and it was encouraging to see him improve somewhat this season, but I’m still not sure he is a part of the long term plans. For all his improvements this season, he’s got an OPS under .800 and by most measures, plays below average defense. In other words, if you can get a player like Arenado, you move on from Franco with impunity.
It’s no secret that the Phillies will pursue Manny Machado in free agency this offseason. While he says he wants to play shortstop, many people believe he’ll eventually end up back at third in a few years. If they can get him, then it seems like Arenado wouldn’t be a possibility. But if they can’t, maybe the Phillies can go with another year with the guys on hand, and then try to improve the left side of the infield in 2019.
One Sentence Description of the Rockies Scheduled Starters
Tyler Anderson: Decent enough for a Rockies pitcher.
Jon Gray: Way too good of a name for a bad pitcher.
German Marquez: He’s been strong in the second half.
Antonio Senzatela: Better results as a starter than as a reliever.
Wade Davis: This Guy is Good
Apparently, I haven’t paid all that much attention to the American League in recent seasons, because I had no idea that Rockies closer Wade Davis was an established All-Star who finished in the top ten of Cy Young Award voting after two different seasons. The man even received MVP votes in 2015!
He’s having another good season in 2018, and he leads the league in saves. So if the Phillies are trailing after eight, you could probably turn off the game and get a few extra minutes of sleep.
Let the Kids Play
Now that the Phillies have been eliminated, the hope is that Gabe Kapler won’t overmanage in these games. At the very least, I’d hope for games that don’t involve a minimum of five relief pitchers. Then again, Kapler might claim that since the Rockies are in a pennant race, he owes it to the Dodgers to treat these games as seriously as possible. If that is what happens, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not watching. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not watching even if that doesn’t happen.
Perhaps more importantly, I also hope that we’ll see more of the younger players this final week. Let’s have Crawford at shortstop and Kingery at second. If Franco is still hurt, then Carlos Santana can play third, but either way, I want Rhys Hoskins to be at first base. I realize that one week isn’t going to give us much more information about the viability of these guys going forward, but it’s certainly going to be more useful than giving playing time to the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera and Joey Bautista.
I could see them winning anywhere from zero to four games in this series. But they’ll probably win just one en route to another season under .500.