Are the Rockies for real or fool’s gold as playoff contenders?

If the Rockies can find a guy or two in the bullpen, I think this team can win 83-88 games and continue for a wild-card identify. As presently composed, I see 75-81 wins. Am I being irrational or dealing in facts, Kiz?

Joe, Denver

Kiz: In a sport where too many teams without the talent to be a legit contender shamelessly tank, the Rockies care enough to be stuck in the middle. My hope: If Colorado is nevertheless playing good baseball in the middle of June, general manager Bill Schmidt will trade for a veteran arm to bolster the starting rotation.

Don’t think the Rockies are legit playoff contenders. They have played a pretty cushy schedule this far, with only one series against a team with a winning record, and they nevertheless have a negative run differential. Calling them a contender is like anointing last season’s Broncos as contenders after beating the Jaguars, Giants, and Jets.

E.B., pragmatic

Kiz: We all know the road is where the Rockies’ playoff dreams go to die. Until Colorado proves to be dependably capable of winning half its games away from home, we can’t get truly excited.

This will break coach Michael Malone’s heart, but the Nuggets need to get rid of Will Barton.

Brian, tough as iron

Kiz: The only problem with Barton? He’s a valuable bench player with delusions of being a bona fide starter for a championship contender. Barton needs to embrace a role as the leading scorer for the second unit, or it’s probably better for all concerned if Will the excitement moves on.

Forced to pick one, I’d take Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar over center Nathan MacKinnon. Equally talented. Mentally tougher. Better leader.

Mike, feisty old dog

Kiz: I’ve got this crazy theory. For all his magnificence, the MacKinnon we’ve seen in an Avs sweater reminds me of John Elway early in his Broncos career. When you’re the most-talented athlete in any given game, it’s difficult to fully trust teammates to make the big play when the going gets tough, and you can become accidentally like a martyr while regularly trying to be the hero. Elway never won a championship until he trusted Terrell Davis to carry the load. MacKinnon is luckier. With the emergence of Makar as the NHL’s best defenseman, MacK has found a worthy sidekick much earlier in his Hall of Fame career.

If they call it Ball Arena when the Nuggets play, why can’t it be called Puck Arena when the Avs play?

Lee, sports philosopher

Kiz: My peeps don’t always tackle the meatiest questions in life. But they do it with ravenous passion. And that’s just another reason why I’d much rather argue about sports than politics, religion or food. (Although I will heatedly discuss where to eat the best tacos al pastor in Denver, so long as you’re picking up the tab for dinner.)

And today’s parting shot is a plea to let the dust settle.

Kiz, your incessant use of “dusty old cowtown” in reference to Denver is not only bothersome and overcooked but is indicative of a media wisenheimer. I think “dusty old sportswriter” is more apropos.

Dave, the unbosomer

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