The first-place Dodgers! The over-.500 Rockies! Pennant race implications abound as Los Angeles returns to Coors Field for the first time since mid-April. The probable pitchers for Colorado kind of undermine the team's profile as an alleged playoff contender: Rodrigo Lopez, Josh Fogg, Jeff Francis (he's OK), and Ubaldo Jimenez. But the numbers say the Rockies are still very much alive, and the Dodgers like all the other teams in the NL West have some power problems on offense and can be beaten.
The Dodgers just lost 2 of 3 in Houston and they still don't have a third baseman. They do have a slightly more intact pitching rotation then the Rockies do and a very good bullpen (although Colorado deserves much praise for operating without fear in the face of the fine Padres bullpen in their last series).
I'm kind of ready for the Rockies to either make a real move or go ahead and make with the swoon already. Just like last season, they've stayed technically in contention longer than they have any right to thanks to watered-down competition. But other than one long-ago winning streak they've never looked the least bit like a playoff team. Take that pathetic showing in Washington last week. Playoff teams don't lose 3 of 4 to the freakin' Nationals at their place, our place, or in San Juan.
I was not surprised by the Rockies playing well in their series against San Diego. They're a good home team and when they don't need anyone to motivate them (as was the case in the Yankees series) they can scrap a bit. If they're to make they playoffs they either need to make the leap to great home team or win a bit more consistently on the road. Past history strongly suggests the former is the easier path. So they're playing the first-place team in the division at home. If they can't win this series, they might as well start working the phones for landing places for Brian Fuentes and Todd Helton.