Now that the '08 season has gotten past the 100-game mark, the playoff race is starting to narrow. The NL West, however, is still up for grabs.
Usually at this point a team such as the Rockies (15 games under .500 @ 43-58) would be trying to sell off veteran players that have contracts expiring within the next year or two. Brian Fuentes and Matt Holliday are two perfect candidates that are primed for a fire sale, which could bolster up their farm system and get them ready for 09' and 2010.
But the Rockies, having a very sub-par year, find themselves seven games out of first place. Knowing the type of run that a healthy Colorado Rockies team is capable of, I would not count them out yet.
With the trade deadline nearing, I would not expect to see them try and move Fuentes or Holliday. I am not predicting a 20 out of 21 game streak, but with Tulowitzki finally healthy and Ubaldo Jimenez throwing stikes, the likelihood of a three team race for the pennant seems possible.
When factoring in the weak hitting of Arizona and Los Angeles, one may even consider Colorado a favorite to win the NL West.
The first half of the season was unkind to the Rockies. Players that played a big part of their playoff run last year seemed to have a hangover from the 08' season. Pitchers Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales and closer Manny Corpus started off very slow and all but Morales seem to have put it back together.
Then, with injuries to stud defensive shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, outfielder Brad Hawpe and backup infielder Clint Barmes, the Rockies were destined to be out of playoff contention. But with the Diamondbacks' bats cooling off since summer hit and the Dodgers struggling for consistency from everyone, I would have to put my money on the Rockies finishing 37-24 or better over their last 61 games.
That should be good enough to find themselves in first place and finishing with a sub-.500 record of 80-82.
It's amazing that this division is so weak, but the winner from the NL west will probably be a sub-.500 team. So Rockies fans, keep your heads up and enjoy another great Rockies late season run!