Yes, the Rockies are coming off a sweep of a three-game series in Arizona -- their third sweep in 61 visits to Chase Field . Yes, they are now atop the NL wild-card standings. Yes, their offense is clicking at a higher rate of run production than any other team in the National League.
But no, there's no reason to celebrate. Not now. Not with 88 games remaining in the regular season. Not with shortstop Trevor Story out for at least two weeks with a sprained right thumb, and third baseman Nolan Arenado battling a bruised big toe on his left foot that forced him out of Thursday's game in Arizona. And not with three games this weekend coming up against the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.
Oh, the Rockies have won 17 of their last 24 games, which has allowed them to overtake the likes of the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Cardinals and Nationals in the wild-card race. But the Rockies haven't faced the Dodgers in those 24 games. Heck, the Rockies haven't faced the Dodgers since April 5-7, back when the Rockies were in the midst of a 3-12 start to this season, and the Dodgers swept a three-game series, leaving the Rockies with an eight-game losing streak against the Big Blue.
Oh, and back then, the Rockies had a healthy Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado in the lineup.
Story is definitely out. He was placed on the Injured List on Wednesday with a sprained right thumb. That means he is sidelined for at least eight more days, but the Rockies say they expect him to be out for at least two weeks, and with the All-Star Break coming up, he could spend three weeks on the Injured List, and miss only three additional games in that span.
Arenado is giving it a go on Friday, looking to play through any pain in the toe he said was initially hurt last weekend against the Padres.
And they not only have lost eight in a row to the Dodgers, but they are journeying into Dodger Stadium, where the Rockies have an all-time record of 81-135, a .375 winning percentage that is the third lowest among current NL parks in which the Rockies have played at least 30 games. If that isn't a big enough flash point, when they finish up with the Dodgers this weekend they head north to San Francisco and journey into what is now known as Oracle Park, where the Rockies are 66-111 against the Giants, a .373 winning percentage that is their second worst in the NL.
As hot as the Rockies are, the Dodgers are hotter. They go into the weekend leading the NL West by 10 games over the second place Rockies. Yes, the Rockies are 20-9 since May 21, a .690 winning percentage. That's the second-best record in Major League Baseball in the last month. The team with the better record? That's right, the Dodgers, 20-8, a .714 winning percentage.
And the weekend series is at Dodger Stadium, where the Dodgers are 31-19, equaling the franchise's best home-field record at the 40-game point in a season. The 1946 Dodgers were also 31-9. The Dodgers have played 12 home series. They have swept five series, split one, and had a losing record in one. They have seven shutouts at home. Only two other teams have seven shutouts for the season -- home and road combined.
And the Rockies don't arrive with any reason to feel they can offensively have an impact at Dodger Stadium, particularly with Arenado hurting and Story on the Injured List. There are only four position players on the Rockies roster -- including Story -- who even have a .200 batting average in his career at Dodger Stadium.
Charlie Blackmon is the leader at .284 followed by Arenado (.253), the injured Story (.239) and Ian Desmond (.200). And as far as power is concerned, Arenado has 12 home runs and Story five, but nobody else has more than two.
Get the picture?
The Rockies do have hope in the opening game of the series. German Marquez is scheduled to start, and his 2.28 ERA is the lowest of any current Rockies pitcher who has made more than one appearance at Dodger Stadium. He is 2-1 in four starts at Dodger Stadium. The rest of the Rockies current staff has a combined record of 3-10. Peter Lambert will be making his Dodger Stadium debut on Saturday, and Antonio Senzatela will be making his first start in the ballpark. He has made one relief appearance, working one inning, walking a batter and not allowing a run.