Sunday, May 27, 2012

Colorado Rockies lose home run derby at Great American Ballpark

An inspiring story, but it's time to move on from Jamie Moyer.
Nine home runs were hit on Sunday at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Five of them were by the Colorado Rockies. In a slug fest, the Rockies found themselves on the short end, losing 7-5 to close out a six-game road trip at 2-4.

The Reds showed exactly what the saying "solo home runs don't beat you" means. The Rockies hit five solo bombs, the only five hits the club registered on the day. In fact, in an odd coincidence, Reds starter Mat Latos went 7-1/3 innings, giving up all five earned runs--and never pitched out of the stretch.

The reason the Rockies lost was due to another poor pitching performance. For the second time on the road trip, Jamie Moyer was lit up on the mound. His low 80's fastball wasn't fooling anyone, and he quickly had the Rockies in a hole 5-1.

Moyer was good enough to fight his way through five innings, but the club was reminded once again of just how important it is for the starting pitcher to be good enough to keep them in the game.

As nice of a story as it has been for Moyer, as good as his career accomplishments have been and as inspiring it is that he is still in the big leagues at age 49, the reality is, he is done. The sad part is, he is done, but he is still not the worst starting pitcher that the Rockies trot out every fifth day.

It might be conceivable that someone would consider trading for Moyer as the July 31st trade deadline approaches. However, a 5.70 ERA isn't going to bring back any considerable returns.

The reality is, the Moyer experiment may have already come to an end if the young starting pitchers that the club was depending on had panned out. Instead, Jhoulys Chacin sits on the disabled list with no timetable for return, and Drew Pomeranz seems as confused as ever, hitting only in the upper-80's in his last start in Colorado Springs.

The questions need to be asked. At some point, do the Rockies put too much weight into making a guy perfect before he settles in to the big league rotation? Is it hampering Pomeranz's development to continue telling him that his mechanics are so flawed? The answer seems to be that the Rockies focus so much on little things that it throws the big things out of whack.

The reality for the Rockies is simple. It's time to pull the plug on Moyer. Let him find a team that could use him. The reality is, he is doing nothing except filling a spot for the Rockies. He won't be back next year and this season is lost for this team.

Let Pomeranz pitch at the big league level and iron out his issues there. It isn't going to hurt anything for him to do it at Coors Field where failure can be chalked up to big league hitters. Continuing to micromanage his mechanics in Colorado Springs is simply going to destroy his confidence as he gets rocked by minor league hitters in a park that plays like Coors Field did before the humidor.

As quick as Pomeranz can return and take Moyer's spot, a replacement should be in line to take Jeremy Guthrie's spot. He is another guy who's value continues to drop every time he takes the ball and gets shelled. Find a place to trade him. Get a couple of minor league pitchers for him, use him to restock the farm system and wash off the failed trade and move on.

It is time to focus on the future. Of course, there is no reason to rush someone to the big leagues before they are ready, but at some point, the experience is necessary for these guys when the pressure to win every night is off.

This team's issues go well beyond a bad starting rotation, a poor manager, a bad pitching coach and a general manager who watched his farm system get depleted before he could re-stock it. This team's issues are deep. The player development department certainly needs to be questioned, as well as the scouting department. Those are the two areas that need to be addressed immediately.

The fact is, the Rockies have the right model to win in Colorado. They aren't going to be the recipients of high-priced free agents. They must win with the draft and player development. That is where the strength of the franchise needs to be. Right now, it is the weakest link in the chain.

The Rockies head home for a Memorial Day doubleheader against the Astros. First pitch is at 1:10 for the first game and 6:10 for the second game.

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