DENVER - Not since Tony Gwynn Jr.'s 9th inning triple against Trevor Hoffman 10 years ago, has something so unlikely helped the Rockies make the playoffs.
I had the chance to interview Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis prior to Saturday's game against the Dodgers. It was a live interview off the top of our 5-o-clock newscast. At that point the Brewers, who once were beating the Cardinals 6-0, were still up 6-4 in the 8th. And, it sure seemed like Milwaukee was about to win and put more pressure on the Rocks.
Bettis seemed alright with the Brewers winning. He even said the Rockies would rather get in by winning, but added they would take what they could get.
So, nobody was complaining 40 minutes later when a couple of singles from Stephen Piscotty and Harrison Bader, combined with a save from former Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio completed the Cardinals comeback. 7-6 was the final and the Rockies clinched the final National League playoff spot.
There was still a game to play however, and I liked how manager Bud Black approached it. The Los Angeles Dodgers were trotting their ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound. Should the Rockies win Wednesday's Wild Card game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, they will advance to play the Dodgers next Friday in Los Angeles. Kershaw will be L.A.'s game one starter.
So, Black made zero adjustments to his lineup after the Rockies clinched by way of the Brewers loss. He sent his regular starters out to get their at-bats against Kershaw, which I think was a smart move. In less than a week, the Rocks may be facing the Cy Young candidate again, with a lot more on the line.
They looked good against the lefty, putting up 3 runs against him through four innings, including a rocket of a home run off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez.
Black slowly pulled his best players out of the game and let them start to enjoy the idea of playing in the postseason, and perhaps get ready for the champagne celebration in the clubhouse.
Speaking of which, my guess is many of the Rockies starters will get a much-deserved, and perhaps much needed day off on Sunday in the final game of the regular season.
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