Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images (Freeland); Jim McIsaac/Getty Images (Estrada)
July 18, 2017

As of June 20, Colorado owned the NL's best record at 47-26 (.644), one-half game better than the Dodgers and two games better than the Diamondbacks. Since then, the Rockies have gone an MLB-worst 7-15 to fall 11 games behind Los Angeles (which is 18-3 in that span) in the NL West, though they have maintained a 5 1/2 game cushion over the Cubs for the second wild card sot. Much of the credit for the Rockies' strong start belonged to Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman, German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela, a quartet of rookie starters who are 22 to 24 years old and each of whom is preventing runs at a better-than-average clip and picking up the slack for the injured Jon Gray.

High Anxiety: How the Rockies are learning to pitch at Coors Field (finally), by Albert Chen

As strong as that group has been however, they're all heading for uncharted territory, innings-wise, in an environment where players fatigue more quickly. When combined with them getting above-average offense from only three regulars, that will be enough to sink them. 

Meanwhile, the Brewers are ahead of schedule with their rebuild, sitting in first place in the NL Central despite having lost 89 and 94 games the past two seasons, respectively. They were reportedly aggressive in their pursuit of Quintana and are doing the same with Gray, so the bet here is that they will shore up their pitching staff by making trades for ex-Brewer Marco Estrada, now with Toronto, and All-Star Pat Neshek of the Phillies. That should be enough to help them hang on to a wild-card spot, which will be their first playoff berth since 2011.

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