|It's time to make tough decisions with the pitching staff.|
There are 162 games in a baseball season. By all accounts, that is a long year. Sometimes players go through the motions, sometimes managers go through the motions. So much goes into a baseball season. It is more than winning games, it is maneuvering a roster, dealing with nagging injuries, and using players in the correct situations.
With all of that to deal with, there are games that define a season.
Saturday's game certainly looked like that for the Rockies. Players in the clubhouse might say the right things. They might pretend like they feel that the pitching will come around.
However, at some point, question marks have to creep into anyone's head. Especially when the offense isn't scuffling along and getting stung by a couple of mistakes by the starters. The Rockies offense is putting up more than enough runs and they are doing it against pitchers who aren't getting their cup of coffee in the big leagues.
The mental side of the game has to creep into the offenses approach. The thought that they are going to have to put up a number that would normally be double the amount of runs to win a typical game is a heavy feeling. At some point it weighs on the mind.
Tough decisions must be made. This isn't a situation where it is still early and there is time to wait for guys to work out their issues. If Esmil Rogers is too inconsistent to be counted on, it is time to move on. Middle relievers are a dime-a-dozen. Moving beyond Rogers is as simple as calling up the next man. The potential that is lost isn't significant to continue flipping a coin to decide which Rogers is going to show up.
Rex Brothers is young. However, the young excuse is getting old. If he is too young to be an 8th inning guy, then he should be moved to a different spot. If he can't be relied upon to be a dependable pitcher 80 percent of the time, then it is time to put him in a different spot.
The Rockies have surprised nearly everyone with their talent and fight. It was easy to believe that the pitchers would come around. No one was saying that this rotation would be anywhere near the best in the league, but they should have been better than they were in April. Assuming they would get better came naturally to most. However, at this point the assuming isn't getting this team anywhere.
The sad reality is, the pitchers are who they are. If they aren't talented enough to pick up victories--or simply good enough to keep their team in the game--then they should be replaced. With the exception of Juan Nicasio, and perhaps Drew Pomeranz, who seems to be finding his way, there is no one in the rotation who would be missed if they were replaced. If Jeremy Guthrie can't contribute shortly after returning from the disabled list, even he should be replaced. If the Rockies have depth in the minor leagues, it is time to see what they can do.
As good as the Jamie Moyer story is, the leash should be short. If he can't protect a six run lead, and make it more than five innings, it is time to move on.
Christian Friedrich, a former first round draft pick, and Alex White, a first round pick of the Indians in 2009, are as ready as they are ever going to be. Tyler Chatwood, acquired in the Chris Iannetta trade and on the Opening Day roster as a long reliever, should get his chance to start. It is time to see what they can bring to the table. If they aren't quite ready, the reality is, they couldn't be any worse than what the team is trotting out their on a daily basis currently.
Hard-thrower Zach Putnam is available in Triple-A to give the bullpen some additional help.
If it truly is a lack of talent on the mound, and not coaching, as the Rockies have made very clear, then it is time to replace the talent on the mound. It is time to see what the kids on the farm can do. If they blow six run leads, it wouldn't be any worse than what the big league pitchers are currently doing.
It is time to make moves before the offense gives up on the team and quits fighting. After a game like Saturday night's, it might be too late already.
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