Rockies thinking wild card in last road game vs. Padres
SAN DIEGO — The Colorado Rockies are headed home after Sunday’s game against the San Diego Padres. They hope their final destination after the regular season is the playoffs.
Colorado plays its last road game to wrap up its four-game series in San Diego. The Rockies have been blanked in three of their last four games, which has allowed some teams, most notably the Milwaukee Brewers, to stay within striking distance.
The Rockies have a one-game lead over the Brewers for the second NL wildcard spot.
“I know the teams that I want to lose when the highlights are on in the locker room,” Rockies star Charlie Blackmon said. “But I don’t actively seek out any of the standings. I think we still have a lot of baseball left to play and I think the most important thing is to not look back, but be looking forward.”
Blackmon’s game looks grand even if the Rockies have dropped two of three to the Padres in this series. He leads the league in batting at .325 and is among the leaders in virtually every significant category.
This year he became the 11th player in major league history to collect at least 130 runs, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 35 homers.
The last player to accomplish that feat was Stan Musial in 1948.
“To me it feels the same,” Blackmon said about the stress of playing down the stretch. “I feel other people put that extra pressure on you.
“I’m trying hard every time I go up there. It doesn’t matter if we are 20 games under .500 or 20 games above it. I think that is the best place for a player to be mentally because they are not giving any at-bats away, good or bad. I think if I were to play every day and now all of a sudden because of where we are I have to things differently that means I’ve been doing something wrong all along.”
What’s gone right for the Rockies is a powerful offense which features Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, DL LeMaieu, Trevor Story and others. But Black, who won 121 games pitching in the majors, knows a team is only good at its rotation. On Sunday, German Marquez (10-7, 4.41) is on the mound.
“Your starting pitcher sets the tone over the course of the season,” Black said. “There are games maybe where your starting pitchers falters and you can out slug someone. But you can’t rely on that formula. You have to rely on starting pitcher, that is what wins.”
Marquez, who has split two career decisions versus the Padres, is tied for second among rookie with 10 wins, with his 142 strikeouts No. 1.
The Padres counter with Luis Perdomo (8-10, 4.57), who is 0-3 lifetime against the Rockies. The right-hander leads the staff woith 16 quality starts. Over his last six outings, he’s heaved a five consecutive quality starts and pitched to a 3.31 ERA.
He beat the Diamondbacks in his last start, although he tied a career-high with six walks. He tiptoed around the damage enough to allow but two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“Love the fact he made big pitches,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He made big pitches when he had to for most of the day. He put himself in really tough situations. But I think you’ve got to be encouraged that he keeps getting out of those situations.”