The Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels can’t help but peek at the out-of-town scoreboard as the shortened season winds down.
They’ll meet in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon in Denver, both needing a win to aid their playoff hopes, but also needing help if they hope to qualify for the expanded postseason.
The Rockies (21-24) are two games back of the San Francisco Giants with 15 games left in the National League West, and three behind the Miami Marlins in the loss column for the second wild-card entry into the NL playoffs.
Colorado missed a chance to move closer to a postseason spot when it lost 5-2 to the Angels in 11 innings on Saturday night to even the series at a game apiece
“Only thing you can do is move on,” said Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland, who started on Saturday night. “You’ve got to turn the page and look to the next game.”
The Angels (19-28) have even slimmer chances of reaching the postseason, but they’re playing well, having won seven of 10.
They have 13 games left, and their best chance at a playoff spot is catching the Houston Astros for second place in the AL West.
The Astros rallied for a 7-5 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, however, keeping them 4 1/2 games ahead of the Angels.
Los Angeles manager Joe Maddon is pleased with how his team is playing at a crucial part of the season.
“Extra inning wins on the road are really impressive,” Maddon said. “It’s the mark of a really good team.”
The Angels have given playing time to a number of rookies this season, and first baseman Jared Walsh has performed the brightest so far.
He homered for the fourth straight game on Saturday, a three-run shot in the 11th inning that lifted the Angels to the win.
Maddon said he has been impressed with Walsh since spring training.
“He has really good hands,” Maddon said. “The way he works the end of the bat, honestly, is an elite method as far as I’m concerned.”
Andrew Heaney (3-3, 4.04 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale for the Angels.
The veteran left-hander strung together two outstanding starts before taking a step back in his latest outing.
After allowing one earned run over 14 2/3 innings, Heaney surrendered five runs (three earned) and five hits in five innings of a 7-1 loss to the Rangers in Texas on Tuesday.
Heaney had a chance to get out of the fourth inning with the Rangers leading 1-0, but a two-out, bases-loaded error by Matt Thaiss, who was playing his first major league game at second base, scored two runs before the Rangers tacked on two more off Heaney in the fifth.
Heaney has made two starts in his career against the Rockies, both at Coors Field, and he’s 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA.
Heaney will be opposed by rookie Ryan Castellani, who will make his seventh start of the season and first against the Angels.
Castellani (1-2, 5.34) faced the Dodgers on Sept. 6 and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits and failing to get the decision in the 7-6 win.
He was coming off his only relief appearance of the season, throwing two shutout innings in a 9-6 win against the Giants on Sept. 2.
–Field Level Media