Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies are finally back.
What had seemed insurmountable with the constant back and forth between the MLB and the MLB Players Association over the COVID-19 shutdown, became a reality a few weeks ago. The two sides agreed to a 60-game schedule that starts on July 23.
Colorado starts its season on July 24 at the Texas Rangers.
As we speak, the Rockies and other MLB teams are in spring training 2.0, most of which are at the teams’ respective ballparks and include simulated games.
In order to cut back on travel, according to the MLB, teams will play 10 games against each divisional opponent and 20 games against the opposite leagues’ corresponding division.
For Colorado, that means the American League West.
So, for the Rockies, that means:
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 10 games
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 10 games
- San Diego Padres: 10 games
- San Francisco Giants: 10 games
- AL West: 20 games
Rockies outlook and odds
When it comes to Colorado, it’s all about the pitching.
What should help in that area is that the season is only 60 games, compared to a regular season with 162 games. But the Rockies will need to get consistent efforts from the starters and reliable innings from the bullpen.
The offense shouldn’t be an issue for Colorado. The addition of veteran Matt Kemp could bring even more power to the Rockies’ lineup, as well as veteran leadership to the clubhouse.
Of course, it never hurts to have one of the best players in the game at their disposal. Arenado is a special player; furthermore, the potential is there to carry this roster to success.
If Colorado is able to get consistent pitching … well, that feels like an evergreen statement when it comes to the team at 20th and Blake.
In that regard, keep an eye on starter Kyle Freeland. If the local product returns to the starter he was a few seasons ago, the one who led the Rockies to the postseason, the chance is there to get back to the playoffs. From there, anything is possible, especially in these crazy times.
Colorado is a long shot even to make the playoffs let alone win the NL West.
The odds jump to astronomical levels for winning the National League and the World Series.
For the Colorado sports bettors looking to bet on the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are the favorites for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
|Colorado Rockies odds||DraftKings||FanDuel|
|NL West winner||Dodgers -500|
|NL winner — Top five followed by Rockies||Dodgers +180|
|World Series winner — Top five followed by Rockies||Dodgers +390|
What about COVID-19 testing?
As you would imagine, there is a plan for ample coronavirus testing.
According to the MLB:
“Players, coaches and support staff will be tested for COVID-19 every other day during training camps, the regular season and postseason. Anybody testing positive will be quarantined. Two negative tests are reportedly required for a return. Players will also receive temperature/symptom checks at least twice per day, and antibody testing will be conducted approximately once per month.”
One of the noticeable changes besides the shortened season: There are no fans.
The other big one? Let’s say Crash Davis from Bull Durham would not approve. The National League will use the designated hitter this season. Though, since it’s for health and safety precautions, Davis may be OK with it this one time.
Here are some other rule changes you will see in this shotgun season, per the MLB:
- Teams will open the season with a 30-man active roster; it will be reduced to 28 players after two weeks, then to 26 after four weeks.
- The trade deadline will be Aug. 31.
- Teams will be permitted to carry up to three taxi-squad players on the road during the season, though if a team carries three such players, one must be a catcher.
- During extra-inning games in the regular season, each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. The batter who made the final out in the previous inning (or a pinch-runner for that batter) would be that runner.
In these unprecedented times, perhaps the Rockies will find a way to make this unique season even more memorable.