MLB Rankings: The greatest hits of the season’s final week

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 28: Sam Hilliard #43 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a home in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on September 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 28: Sam Hilliard #43 of the Colorado Rockies circles the bases after hitting a home in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field on September 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

MLB Rankings: Greatest Hits of the Final Week

7. Sam Hilliard, Colorado Rockies, 48 percent

Although Hilliard’s home run wasn’t the pennant race’s most important hit from a statistical standpoint, it may go down as the final week’s best-remembered one. That’s because as much as any other, it probably stifled Milwaukee’s seemingly resolute rush to the NL Central title.

The Brewers, after all, had won 19 of their most recent 22 games, led 3-2 with two out in the ninth, and knew the St. Louis Cardinals – just one game ahead of them in the division standings – were well on their way to another defeat at the hands of the Chicago Cubs.

The seemingly inevitable Brewer victory would forge a tie for the NL Central lead with just one game remaining to be played. If Milwaukee were to follow that Saturday victory with a win Sunday, the worst-case scenario would be the team’s second consecutive playoff game Monday, this time against the Cardinals.

That scenario worked for Milwaukee in 2018 when they caught the Chicago Cubs on the season’s final day and beat them in the Monday playoff before losing a five-game division series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Enter Brewer closer Josh Hader to seal the deal. Two outs later, enter Hilliard to unseal it and redirect the Brewers onto a new path, the NL wild-card game.

His home run, following an eighth-inning Ian Desmond homer that halved what had been a 2-0 Brewers lead, swung the odds by 48 percent, making the home-standing Rockies a slight favorite. They won it on Trevor Story’s home run in the 10th.