MLB playoffs: Los Angeles Dodgers/Colorado Rockies, game 163 thread

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Walker Buehler (21) takes the field prior to the start of a MLB game between the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers on September 19th, 2018 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Joshua Lavallee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Walker Buehler (21) takes the field prior to the start of a MLB game between the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers on September 19th, 2018 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Joshua Lavallee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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After an offensive outburst from both the Rockies and the Dodgers on Sunday, the stage is set for an NL West tiebreaking game 163 between the two squads in Los Angeles on Monday to set up the MLB playoffs.

The MLB regular season has come to an end; unless you’re a fan of the Rockies, the Dodgers, the Brewers or the Cubs. If that describes you, congrats! Monday is going to be one wild ride and I, for one, can’t wait. The Brewers and Cubs’ game is bound to be a battle, one that will either end with Wrigley faithful raising the W or getting ready for an MLB playoffs Wild Card game against the Dodgers or the Rockies.

Speaking of the Dodgers and the Rockies, they’ll play at Dodger Stadium (first pitch at 1:09) and you can catch it on ESPN. The Dodgers were named the hosts because of their head-to-head record against the Rockies this season, going 12-7  with 6 of those wins being at home. The last time these two teams met, the Dodgers swept them in a three-game series at Chavez Ravine, igniting a comeback to get the team to this very point.

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On the mound for the Rockies will be German Márquez. The Dodgers have faced the Rockies righty twice this season, and Márquez emerged the victor in both games. He has, however, given up home runs to five Dodgers, all of whom could be in the lineup tomorrow.

That said, Dave Roberts is going to throw his best lineup out there. Manny Machado will be at short, Justin Turner will be at third, and they’ll be some sort of combination of Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Kiké Hernandez in the outfield. One thing we do know is that Walker Buehler will be on the mound for the Dodgers.

Originally, Buehler was supposed to start Sunday but was swapped with Rich Hill instead. It worked out, as Hill pitched seven innings of two-hit baseball against San Francisco. That move by Dave Roberts made it so that the ball would be given to the Dodgers’ strongest starter this season in their most important game.

Buehler had a historic rookie season, and if it weren’t for the home-run slugging rookies on the east coast, he would probably win NL Rookie of the Year.

This is the most important game that Walker Buehler and German Márquez have ever pitched. It has the feeling of Game 7 of the World Series, with slightly lower stakes. Whoever wins this game has home field advantage against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

Looking at this game from the perspective of a lifelong Dodger fan, I think LA has the upper hand, with Buehler, Machado, Muncy and the cheers of the home crowd. The Rockies, however, are dangerous. They’ve proved that over their last 10 games, and have shown signs of brilliance in September.  Nolan Arenado can take virtually any pitch in the zone and send it 400 feet in front of him, and Trevor Story always seems to be on base.

But the fact is, both of these teams are complete powerhouses. The Dodgers have a better team ERA (3.41) than Colorado (4.36) but the Rockies have a better team batting average (.256) compared to the Dodgers’ .249 average.

We can spend all day predicting who is going to win this game and the NL West but, at the end of the day, this is the Dodgers and the Rockies; two teams who have had their share of struggles this season, but find themselves facing each other in a regular-season tiebreaker.

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Technically, it’s still the regular season, but the calendar has turned to October and, as all baseball fans know, anything can happen in October and the MLB playoffs.