The Rockies begin a crucial four-series stretch Thursday against Philadelphia

The Rockies will play only sub-.500 teams in their next 14 games. They’ll need to thrive in this stretch if they want to get back into the NL Wild Card race.

Jorge De La Rosa. Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Coors Field, June 9, 2016. (Jessica Taves/For Denverite)  colorado rockies; baseball; sports; jessica taves; denver; colorado; denverite

It's possible starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa is on the trading block if the Rockies don't right the ship in this upcoming four-series stretch of games. (Jessica Taves/For Denverite)

The Colorado Rockies are reeling. After getting smacked around in a six-game California road trip by the Dodgers and Giants, a pair of National League West foes, Colorado sits 38-46.

The Rockies are 1-7 in their last eight, 4-10 in their last 14 and have watched the Giants’ divisional lead balloon all the way to 14 ½ games. They’re eight games out of a Wild Card spot.

They need a spark to get out of this bad stretch. Luckily, Colorado’s upcoming schedule gives the team every opportunity to do so. Between Thursday and July 24, the Rockies play 14 games over the course of four series. Each of their opponents in those sets will be sub-.500 teams.

They start off with the Philadelphia Phillies (40-46) Thursday night at home for four games, hit the road for a three-game set against the lowly Atlanta Braves (28-57), host the Tampa Bay Rays (34-50) for three more, then conclude with a four-game series against the Braves at Coors Field.

This is a vital stretch of games for the Rockies for a couple of reasons.

If the Rockies have any hopes of climbing back into the NL Wild Card race, they must feast on this string of opponents who are a combined 51 games under .500 . Colorado’s schedule is loaded in August with series against the division-leading Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and two against the Washington Nationals. The level of difficulty is only ratcheting up after July. If ever there was a time to make a run, it is now.

These four series could also have a major effect in how Colorado behaves at the July 31 trade deadline. Could Colorado dangle right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who’s perhaps in the midst of his finest season since 2010, if it doesn’t make up any ground? What about starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, who’d be a rental arm for the rest of the season for any team looking to solidify its rotation?

Check back on July 24, when the Rockies finish this crucial four-series stretch. We’ll likely have more answers then.