By Connor Dietrich
It’s been a long wait for Colorado Rockies fans, but Denver’s team head into its first National League Divisional Series in nine years- when it lost to the Philadelphia Phillies four games in 2009.
Since then, the Rockies have only made one playoff appearance- a 2017 National League Wild Card Game loss to division rival Arizona. Moreover, Colorado has only had four winning seasons since that same NLDS loss- setting a high with 91 wins in 2018.
The Rockies finished 91-72 this year- any knowledgeable baseball fan knows that they played one more game than the normal 162 game season. Coming off a division tie-breaker loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado found itself matched up against the 95-68 Chicago Cubs in Tuesday’s NL Wild Card Game. Playing its 12th game in as many days, the Rockies were surely exhausted, especially traveling to three different cities in a span of three days.
A 7:15 first pitch, a sold-out crowd, and an angry Cubs team, surely was the biggest test of the year. Nonetheless, the Rockies got off good start in the top of the first with their All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado hitting a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Charlie Blackmon. Only putting one run on the board, it was time for the Rockies to take the field.
On the mound for the Rockies was Denver native LHP Kyle Freeman. Having never pitched a playoff game in his young career, Freeland was faced with the biggest test in his young career- a young, slugging, and offensive Cubs team. Freeland would need to have one of his best performances of his young career. He did just that.
Freeland pitched six scoreless innings, struck out 6 batters, and was relieved in the 7th inning by right-hander Adam Ottavino. Chicago was bound to score, and they did just that in the 8th inning with a Javier Baez double to center that scored Terrance Gore.
After that run, the score remained the same for 4 more innings. The Rockies had gone through 4 relief pitchers, while Chicago used 7 relief pitchers after veteran LHP and starter Jon Lester was pulled.
Lance Kendricks came on in relief for the Cubs, and it was vital that the Rockies to get anything on the board. However, starting out the inning with two straight outs, it seemed the game was headed for another extra inning. All-Star shortstop Trevor Story gave the team hope with a single to left center, followed by a Gerardo Parra single that moved story to third.
Up came long-time catcher and .170 hitter Tony Wolters, and with a 1-2 count, he hit a ground ball through the hole and into center field. Story scored, and the hopes and dreams of all Colorado fans came to life. The only thing standing in the way 0f a playoff win was the bottom of the 13th.
Scott Oberg took the mound for the Rockies. Needing only three outs to earn a night of partying and celebrating, the right-handed pitcher struck out three straight batters. The game was over, and silence struck Wrigley. Shock struck the Cubs organization.
Rejoice struck the rocky mountain baseball team. The game was over. The wait was over. It’s Rocktober once again.
Colorado will look to parlay the momentum gained from Tuesday’s Wild Card win into its NLDS Matchup against the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers. Game one is scheduled for Thursday at 4:07 CT from Miller Park, and can be watched on Fox Sports 1.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org