When the season lasts 162 games, a good team can usually overcome a couple bad weeks … even a sub-.500 month.
But when the season is only 60 games long, a bad run can be fatal.
The Colorado Rockies have been in one of those bad runs. After starting the season 11-3, the Rockies lost 12 of their next 14 games. But their fortunes could be reversing again. And if they are, the Rockies could be back in the playoff picture by the time the San Diego Padres leave Denver for the final time in 2020 on Monday.
The Rockies have won four of their past five games, starting with three straight wins. And Saturday night, after blowing a 3-0 lead, the Rockies celebrated a 4-3 walk-off win against the Padres.
Saturday’s game was more than a win. It represents opportunity. It opened a door.
Remember, the top two teams in each division automatically qualify for the playoffs. The Dodgers have sailed over the horizon in the National League West. And with Friday night’s 10-4 win at Coors Field, the Padres opened a three-game cushion over the Rockies.
However, Saturday’s win by the Rockies narrowed the game to two games. And the Rockies and Padres have two more games in this series at Coors Field — where the Rockies have a 3-2 edge on San Diego this season. If the Rockies win the next two games, they will draw even with the Padres for second in the NL West as the regular season enters the final month.
And the Padres have pitching concerns, one of which will be on the mound Sunday afternoon when San Diego right-hander Chris Paddack (2-3, 5.15 ERA) is paired against Rockies right-hander Ryan Castellani (1-1, 3.54 ERA).
Coors Field would seem like the last place a pitcher would go to snap out of a slump. But that is what Paddack will look to do in his first-ever start in Denver.
Twice in his last three starts, Paddack has given up six runs. He has already given up 10 homers in 36 2/3 innings covering seven starts. His ERA has climbed in five of his last six starts. After allowing only two runs in 11 innings over his first two starts, Paddack has given up 19 runs (all earned) in 25 2/3 innings in his last five. That’s a 6.66 ERA.
Opponents have pounded Paddack’s once-lethal fastball. “It’s still there,” Paddack said of his stuff. “I just have to clean some stuff up.”
The Padres need Paddack to step up Sunday because on either side of his Sunday outing is a bullpen start. “It’s up to me,” said Paddack, who has faced the Rockies once in his career, giving up three runs on five hits in one start (4.50 ERA).
Castellani, meanwhile, has been a pleasant surprise for the Rockies. “I like what he is doing,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “I like his approach. He’s making the most of the opportunity.”
It has taken the 6-foot-4, 25-year-old Castellani six seasons from being Colorado’s second-round pick in the 2014 draft to reach the Major Leagues. And after posting an 8.31 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A last year, he prepped for his rookie season in the Arizona Fall League.
Castellani has made four starts since being promoted to the Rockies roster on Aug. 8. He has allowed eight runs on 13 hits and seven walks with 14 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings — for a 0.984 WHIP and a .186 opponents’ batting average. He’s never faced the Padres.
–Field Level Media