MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Aug 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (5) hits an RBI single in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Rockies hanging around NL West race

The Colorado Rockies never get talked about. Maybe it is because nobody considers them a real contender either in the complete scope of the National League postseason chase or the NL West on its own.

Yet, at 55-56 after the weekend, the Rockies are only four games behind the Miami Marlins for the second and final wild card spot in the senior circuit.

For all intents and purposes, the Rockies are a very flawed team. Colorado doesn’t have the kind of pitching we see with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. For a sport well over a century old, we have learned that without great starting pitching, you are not going to go very far in Major League Baseball.

Then again, when the Rockies went to the World Series in 2008, they had Jeff Francis leading the charge. Most people, including those who root for Colorado, would have a tough time picking him out of a lineup.

So, are the Rockies an actual contender? Yes and no.

Colorado is not going to win the World Series. As of August 8, the Rockies are trotting out starters named Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood and Jorge de la Rosa. Outside of de la Rosa, you would be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of these men in any realm. For the record, Anderson has made 10 starts and thus far has been terrific, posting a 3.25 ERA. Chatwood has been consistent all years at Coors Field, compiling a 10-7 mark with a 3.63 ERA. After that, nobody has an ERA under 4.25. Yikes.

For the Rockies to really compete for a playoff spot, they are going to need decent pitching out of the de la Rosa, Bettis and Gray trio while the offense continues to be one the top units in the game. It’s led by third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has smashed a team-high 29 home runs with 87 RBI. Second baseman D.J. LeMahieu goes under the radar but is hitting .328 with a .400 on-base percentage, leading the club in both spectrums. Add in Carlos Gonzalez, who is batting .321 with 23 home runs and 76 RBI, and the offense can compete with anybody even sans Trevor Story, who is out for the season.

Still, it always comes down to getting decent pitching in Colorado. If the Rockies can string together a few good starts each week and get a few offensive explosions along the way, this is a legitimate playoff contender. TO win one of the wild card spots, 86 or 87 wins might be the magic number. To get to the lower one, Colorado would need to go 31-20 the rest of the way.

Colorado might not be a favorite, but don’t sleep on the Rockies.

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