ST. LOUIS — The Rockies entered Tuesday night’s game against St. Louis 11½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West and tied with Arizona for the NL’s top wild-card spot.
You don’t have to tell Nolan Arenado that. The all-star third baseman has been scoreboard watching for quite some time.
“Shoot, I’ve been doing it since before the All-Star Game,” Arenado said. “When we started losing all of those games in that one stretch, I was like, ‘Oh, God!’
“I was watching all of that. Because when you start losing games, you’re like, ‘Oh man, I hope the other teams are losing, too.’ ”
The Rockies have a realistic shot for their first postseason trip since 2009, and that has energized Arenado. There is no “take it one game at a time” from the third baseman. He has never even sniffed the playoffs in his five seasons in the majors, so he’s jazzed to be in a pennant race in late July.
“Every game is meaningful, and it’s fun,” he said. “I feel like when I come to the field now, it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got to get ready to go today.’ Because in years past it was kind of like, ‘Man, I’m kind of tired. I just hope I get a couple of knocks.’
“But now, I’m like, ‘Man, I hope I get some RBIs and do my part, because we have to win today.’ These are meaningful baseball games. I’m loving this.”
Foster checks out OK. When Steve Foster experienced chest pains Monday while he was out for a morning run, he had plenty of reason to be concerned. He knew it was wise to go to a hospital and get checked out.
“I have a family history,” the Rockies pitching coach said Tuesday after spending the night at Mercy Heart Hospital. “My father had a heart attack when he was 48, and I’m 50. That alerted (the doctors) immediately, and they wanted to hold me overnight.”
Foster missed Monday’s game, but he was given a clean bill of health and returned to his coaching duties Tuesday as the Rockies took on St. Louis in the second game of the series. Foster underwent a treadmill stress test Tuesday morning and also had an EKG and bloodwork. He cleared all of the tests.
“They ruled out that there was any heart episode, and they ruled out any clotting in the lungs,” Foster said. “They said that I just need to be very careful and pay close attention. They told me my risk level was times 10, because I’ve had this in my family, so I have to watch what I do.”
Roster shuffle. Right-handed reliever Carlos Estevez was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday, and the club optioned struggling rookie right-hander Jairo Diaz back to Triple-A.
Díaz, 26, was recalled on July 17, his second appearance on the Rockies’ 25-man roster this season. He has a 9.00 ERA, with five walks and two strikeouts in four appearances.
“With Jairo, two main things come into play,” manager Bud Black said. “I think there is a confidence factor … and I don’t think he was confident with how he was throwing. And he’s had an erratic command of his fastball.”
Estévez, 24, is on the big-league roster for the fifth time this season. He is 4-0 with a 8.10 ERA, six walks and 18 strikeouts in 18 games.
Rockies RHP Jeff Hoffman (6-2, 5.10 ERA) at Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (6-8, 3.34), 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, AT&T SportsNet; 850 AM
Much like his teammate Tyler Chatwood last season, Hoffman has pitched much better on the road than at home. For example, in Hoffman’s last start at Coors Field, he was lifted after a season-low three innings, the Pirates hammering him for seven run on nine innings. Hoffman hurt himself by giving up four walks. On the road, however, he’s 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts, and opponents are batting just .197 against him. Martinez is extremely talented, as his appearance in the All-Star Game showed. He threw two scoreless innings and became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez with four strikeouts in an All-Star Game. St. Louis, however, is only 1-5 in his last six starts, and he has struggled against the Rockies. He’s 2-1 with a 6.11 ERA in eight games (four starts) against them. He got beat at Coors Field in May, allowing three runs over 7⅓ innings, in a game Colorado ended up winning 10-0.
Friday: German Marquez (8-4, 4.20 ERA) at Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (8-6, 4.83), 5:05 p.m., AT&T SportsNet
Saturday: Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (10-7, 3.64) at Nationals TBA, 5:05 p.m., AT&T SportsNet