The team has to look into the future. If the 2011 season is a failure, the only option is to plug away and make themselves better for next year. Part of that process is to evaluate the talent that the club has, but isn't exactly sure where that talent belongs.
Esmil Rogers fits into the category of talent that the club needs to take a long, hard look at to see if he is going to be a long-term solution in the rotation, in the bullpen, or not at all.
On Tuesday night in Cincinnati it wasn't pretty, but Rogers showed his character. In six innings of work, Rogers threw 111 pitches, he had traffic in every single inning, but, to his credit, was able to get out with very little damage. He gave up only two runs in his six innings of work, one of which came on a strike out to Todd Frazier, a passed ball that allowed him to get to first base, then he scored on a weird play in which he made a base running mistake, over-running third base and coming around when Troy Tulowitzki threw behind him and Ty Wigginton couldn't get the ball to the plate in time to record the out.
Rogers outing might not have been the most beautiful performance. He didn't dominate the Reds batters. He didn't make anyone feel like they couldn't get a hit, but he worked out of jams and never gave up the big hit, something that he has struggled with in the early part of his career.
One criticism of the righty has been that he only has two pitches. He doesn't throw a change-up, which means he only has a fastball and a slider. In Tuesday night's game, Rogers work included a wrinkle. He was throwing a slower slider, usually around 82 or 83 miles per hour, in addition to his normal slider at around 87 miles per hour and his fastball in the mid-90's.
The slower slider has a bigger break, and threw off batters just enough to help Rogers get the outs when he needed them.
Those types of adjustments are exactly what it is going to take for Rogers to have an impact at the big league level. He has the talent to be a big leaguer, but no one is confusing him with an ace. To stick around, Rogers will need to continue to make adjustments. Tuesday night's performance was gutsy and encouraging for the Rockies.