Manager Jim Tracy, at his wits’ end, has announced the team will go with a four-man rotation for the time being with the starters following a strict 75-pitch limit.
Does this move make any sense whatsoever, or is it just plain dumb?
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I can see why the team did this: the rotation has been downright abysmal, so they had to do something, and despite being overworked, the bullpen has performed admirably and offers at least some hope of competency.
Still, I would have gone with firing pitching coach Bob Apodaca, personally–as would pretty much every other Rockies fan in the Rocky Mountain region–but apparently Rockies management feels differently. I even half-jokingly suggested an eerily similar course of action a week ago, so I suppose I should be proclaiming how brilliant of an idea this is since I thought of it first.
However, this is probably the stupidest idea I’ve heard in awhile, and considering owner Dick Monfort said that Dan O’Dowd was the best GM in baseball, that’s sayin’ somethin’.
It’s not the four-man rotation that bothers me, it’s the damn pitch count.
Seriously, 75 pitches a game?! What the hell! Talk about setting the bar low.
People talk about the 100-pitch limit and how it’s led to the babying of pitchers; how do you think 75 is going to work? Rockies pitchers need to be mentally tough to overcome the stigma of pitching at Coors Field, but having their goal be to get through 75 pitches is only going to weaken their mental toughness, not strengthen it.
Screw the pitch count, their goal should be to throw a complete game. It’s not always going to happen, but that should be their mindset every time they take the mound.
On the bright side, Rockies starters should adjust to this pretty easily since they’re pretty much used to it by now. Seventy-five pitches is about the point in the game where it’s the 3rd or 4th inning, they’ve already given up 5-6 runs, and Tracy’s walking out to take them out of the game.
Not to toot my own horn, but in my preseason reviews, I had this to say about Colorado as I picked them to finish fourth in the NL West: “The Rockies’ philosophy this offseason appeared to be ‘F*ck it, we can’t pitch anyway. Let’s go get more BATS!’ So that’s what they did. Colorado, the consummate hitter’s park, will be filled with hitters every night because the Rockies have them.
Too bad you have to get the other guys out, or this team would really be something.” So, in essence, it’s no surprise the Rockies can’t pitch, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to the manager or front office either, although I doubt they foresaw the scope of the disaster that has been Rockies’ pitching this season.
My problem with Colorado’s proposed solution is that it’s no solution at all. What are they saying, “our starters get knocked out in the 4th anyway, so let’s pull them ALL in the 4th?!”
How are you going to get any of these guys on track if you don’t let them work through it?
Now, I get that Colorado’s bullpen is leaps and bounds better than their rotation (among pitchers with more than 10 appearances, the Rockies’ six best in terms of ERA are all relievers. Moreover, they don’t have one starter with an ERA under FIVE).
But you can’t finish out nearly two-thirds of a season with the game plan being to use 5’ pitchers every game. You just can’t.
While the Colorado may actually generate a few more wins doing this, they aren’t going to be competitive, and in the meantime they will not be finding ANY solutions moving forward for their starting rotation.
They need to empty AAA, or pick up some ragged arms off the scrap heap, or maybe trade a few bats, but the Colorado Rockies are going nowhere until they execute a complete re-fit of that starting staff.
How do you know? The Rockies have sent you the message. With this bizarre scheme of theirs, they’re saying, in essence, “We give up.”