The Colorado Rockies have clinched their first playoff birth since 2009 becoming the National League (NL) Wildcard with the help of the St Louis Cardinals. The Rockies faced divisional foes, the L.A. Dodgers over the weekend at Coors Field and needed to either win two games or a single loss by the Milwaukee Brewers in order to secure their spot in the 2017 hunt for the Fall Classic. The St. Louis Cardinals who were eliminated by the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night, got a little redemption themselves by doing onto the Brewers what the Cubs did to them.
Despite the Rockies losing two of three in their series against the Dodgers, Colorado will head into the NL Wildcard game playing division rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks which begins this Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Phoenix. The Rockies were 8-10 versus the Diamondbacks in the regular season with most of their losses coming near the end of the season. On Wednesday night the Rockies have one shot at advancing to their first series with the L.A. Dodgers. Pitcher Jon Gray will start for Colorado who is riding a 13 game streak of holding teams to three or fewer runs a game. Arizona will start Zack Greinke who owns a 3.55 ERA (earned run average) in nine post-season starts.
In other sports the Denver Broncos squeaked out another close one Sunday afternoon when they hosted the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos went three and out on their first drive but the defense held the Raiders to a quick three and out as well. On the ensuing possession Denver managed to move the ball easily against Oakland’s porous secondary.
Denver added three more on their next drive extending the lead to 10 with over 150 yards gained through the air in just the first quarter. Oakland made some adjustments and Denver’s offense stalled in the second quarter and the defense gave up a 64-yard touchdown from Oakland’s quarterback Derek Carr to receiver Johnny Holton at 2:23 before the half. The Broncos added two more field goals in the third quarter struggling to get into the end zone. Just before the end of the third quarter, Derek Carr was spun around and went down awkwardly causing the quarterback to leave the game for evaluation. McManus had a chance to put Denver up at the start of the fourth by two scores but missed a chip shot from 29 yards out.
In the end Denver’s No-Fly-Zone defense saved the day yet again when Justin Simmons (T.J. Ward’s replacement) picked off a pass intended for Amari Cooper. Denver escaped a late Raiders comeback and beat the Raiders 16-10.