For the first time since 2009, the Rockies are back in the postseason. By virtue of the Brewers' loss on Saturday, Colorado clinched the second NL Wild Card spot and will face the D-backs on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET at Chase Field on TBS.
So just how did Colorado get this done? Remember, its 2007 World Series run was the result of winning a crazy tiebreaker game with the Padres to make it in as a Wild Card team, so they've been here before. But as for Bud Black's bunch this year, let's take a look back at the season they've had.
The Star Player
Nolan Arenado is a player of otherworldly talent. He hits for power. He hits for average. And his defense is so smooth and buttery, he demands you watch even as he sets up before the pitch. When Arenado fields a routine grounder, you forget that it's a play that nearly every other player in the league makes because his footwork is so good and his actions are so perfectly in tune with each other. Of course, he also does things like this. And yeah, that's really special, too.
The Unsung Hero
In the year of the dinger, you'd have to assume that the Rockies reached October soil thanks to bashing the ball out of Coors Field while averaging a few touchdowns per game. You would be wrong: Their wRC+ is 27th and they've hit the 21st-most home runs in the Majors.
So it all comes down to the pitchers. Their young starting rotation, led by Jon Gray, also features Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Chatwood and Antonio Senzatela.
That group has all posted ERA+s over the Major League average while topping 110 innings pitched. Colorado has only accomplished that in one other year: 2009, when it fell to the Phillies in the NLDS.
The Coolest Moment
Cycles are a strangely satisfying part of baseball ephemera, satisfying our desire for balance with the entire possibility for all hits fulfilled. It's kind of like finishing a video game sidequest. There was no better way to wrap one up than how Nolan Arenado did, though. Trailing, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth, Arenado came up with two on, needing just a dinger to complete his cycle. He pulled it off.
Don't think Arenado didn't care though: This is the photo afterward -- which could also be used for the "Dunkirk" poster.
The Weirdest Moment
As you can judge from every tour group, nothing brings people together like a T-shirt. And when that T-shirt can be a vintage relic from the '90s -- and reference a beloved hip-hop star like Tupac -- well, the choice has been made for you. Thanks to Ian Desmond, the team pulled it off.
Tupac knew what was up. pic.twitter.com/vIxdqg41tZ- Ian Desmond (@IDesmond20) July 17, 2017
Tupac said so. pic.twitter.com/d1QgMS1sYZ- Ian Desmond (@IDesmond20) July 24, 2017
Nothing says the 2017 Rockies more than a '90s Rockies T-shirt.
The Longest Dinger
First baseman Mark Reynolds has had one of the most consistent offensive seasons of his career so far with the Rockies in '17, crushing 30 home runs and nearly 100 RBIs on the campaign. One of those dingers was especially ridiculous: A 482-foot blast on July 23 at Coors Field that landed more than halfway up the bleachers in center field. It was a poke:
It's been a fun summer in Colorado, for sure. But how will these Rockies fare in the postseason, where they haven't been for a while? For a more in-depth look at their chances, check out the video atop this post.