DENVER -- The Rockies seemed down and even out at times, but they showed fight (figuratively and literally), hustle, power and pitching while qualifying for a second straight postseason berth. It is the first time in club history that the Rockies have made a return trip to the playoffs.The only
DENVER -- The Rockies seemed down and even out at times, but they showed fight (figuratively and literally), hustle, power and pitching while qualifying for a second straight postseason berth. It is the first time in club history that the Rockies have made a return trip to the playoffs.
The only disappointment in celebrating this historic feat is that we are limited to 10 moments, but feel free to search for more. Here are our moments that highlight the special feats along the way to a season that the Rockies have a chance to extend:
April 11: Rockies show some fight
A team expected to contend stumbled out of the gate, especially at Coors Field, where the Rockies lost four of their first five games. But third baseman Nolan Arenado spiced up the early going. The Padres' Luis Perdomo sailed a pitch behind Arenado, and he charged the mound to touch off a benches-clearing incident. While Arenado's suspension and ejection weren't exactly positives, the Rockies did take a 6-4 win.
April 15: Desmond goes "home" to find his stroke
First baseman Ian Desmond struggled mightily early in the season. But during his first series in Washington, where he broke in and was a beloved player, he foreshadowed a year in which he could be a clutch player, even when the numbers weren't good. Desmond's ninth-inning homer off Sean Doolittle was the difference in a 6-5 victory at Nationals Park. By the second half, Desmond was delivering crucial late RBIs.
May 21: Wolters exemplifies Rockies hustle
In building this incarnation of the Rockies, general manager Jeff Bridich's moves show that pitching and defense are 1 and 1-A. When you think defensively, you go above and beyond. With the Rockies leading the Dodgers, 2-1, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers' Matt Kemp grounded to shortstop Trevor Story, whose throw skipped past Desmond at first base. But catcher Tony Wolters hustled to back up first base and retrieve the ball. Kemp had made a move toward second, which meant he could be tagged. Wolters alertly flipped the ball to Desmond, whose tag ended the game and secured a save for closer Wade Davis.
July 15: This Story ain't ending any time soon
Story had his bags packed for his first All-Star Game when the final contest before the break came down to him in the ninth inning. With the count 2-2, Story lifted an 88.2-mph cutter from Mariners reliever Nick Vincent well into the center-field bleachers for his first walk-off homer as the Rockies completed the three-game sweep, 4-3.
Aug. 5: Oh salvages a series
The Rockies acquired right-hander Seunghwan Oh from the Blue Jays just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31, and Oh made his impact felt quickly. The Rockies had lost five of their first six games on a road trip to St. Louis and Milwaukee. Two of those losses were in walk-off fashion against Davis. Adam Ottavino was charged with a blown save in a strange ninth inning, but Arenado's homer in the top of the 11th gave the Rockies the lead. Oh escaped the bottom of the inning by rushing to first base on an athletic play to take the relay throw on the game-ending double play. Erik Kratz was originally ruled safe when he dived head-first into first base, but the call was overturned on replay.
Aug. 11: He's the McMahon
With his parents, Jim and Tracy, and girlfriend in town, rookie Ryan McMahon delivered a dramatic 3-2 victory at Coors Field. Starting at third base because Arenado was out with a sore right shoulder, McMahon launched a three-run walk-off homer off reliever JT Chargois. McMahon, feeling all the emotion of a year that saw him make the Opening Day roster but endure two options to Triple-A Albuquerque, bounded across the plate, his fists pumping. His teammates dumped him with drink and individually wrapped gum from the dugout pockets, but they cleared his way. Even Dinger, the triceratops mascot, tiptoed aside, possibly fearing he could become extinct like the dino that inspired the costume.
Sept. 5: Three-part Story … and the middle part was really long
After homering off Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner twice on Sept. 3, Story decided to pick on righty Andrew Suarez to the tune of three home runs. On the first one, Story tumbled to the dirt of the batter's box but still put the ball on the left-field concourse at Coors. The second one went a projected 505 feet -- the longest homer since Statcast™ began tracking distance in 2015. He added another into the left-field bleachers. The Rockies needed them all in a 5-3 victory.
Sept. 12: DJ spins the four-base walk-off hit
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu has built a nice career by delivering clutch defensive plays or key at-bats when necessary. During the final two months, he added power to the resume. From Aug. 18 to Sept. 12, LeMahieu hit six homers -- most of them at key points of games. The last homer of this run was a two-run shot for his first career game-ending homer in a 5-4 victory over the D-backs.
Sept. 23: Freeland is there when it counts
After being swept in Los Angeles and falling out of first place in the NL West, the Rockies dusted themselves off and reset their season by sweeping a three-game set in Arizona. Lefty Kyle Freeland did what he did all year -- carry the team when it counted -- in the third game. He had a two-run lead with two on in the seventh when he forced an Eduardo Escobar infield popup. The Rockies would win in shutout fashion, 2-0.
Sept. 26: Can't touch Marquez
Right-hander German Marquez emerged as a front-of-the-rotation talent. On this night, he made history by striking out the first eight Phillies he faced in the Rockies' 14-0 victory. Marquez tied Jim Deshaies (Astros, 1986) and Jacob deGrom (Mets, 2014) for the modern Major League record (since 1900). Before the modern era, Mikey Welch of the New York Gothams struck out nine to start a game. Along the way, Marquez surpassed Ubaldo Jimenez's club record of 214 strikeouts, set in 2010.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.