|Chacin pitched five solid innings for the Rockies.|
On Monday night in San Francisco, the Rockies did it to themselves once again. With Jhoulys Chacin on the mound, pitching great through five innings, the Rockies were clinging to a 1-1 tie. Chacin had given up just one run on five hits. He struck out two and walked only one Giant.
However, after 80 pitches, the Rockies decided that Chacin's night was done.
Jim Tracy and the Rockies decided that it would be better for Guillermo Moscoso, the proud owner of a 6.59 ERA through 42-1/3 innings, would be a better option than the guy they had on the mound who was pitching well and keeping the Giants in check.
Moscoso promptly allowed two runners on base before recording an out. He was able to escape a first and third no out jam, only giving up one run, but that run was the difference in the game.
The Rockies should know, as any fan who has watched them in AT&T Park over the years does, that when they are in San Francisco, each and every at-bat matters. Every single pitch is important because putting up runs in that ballpark isn't just difficult, it is nearly impossible. That means there isn't any room to mess around, the team must put their best foot forward in every situation.
Part of the Rockies theory is that the starting pitcher tends to get hit harder the third time through the lineup. This stat is undeniable. However, simply because that is a typical trend doesn't mean that the starting pitcher isn't a better option than some random below-average pitcher in the bullpen.
Why on Monday night would Moscoso be a better option in the 6th inning than Chacin? Simply because Chacin had already delivered 80 pitches and the Giants were about to see him once again? It defies logic. Very few people would suggest that they would rather have a guy on the mound as the game goes into the late innings that has struggled for the vast majority of his time in the big leagues and has bounced between Triple-A and the Majors all season long over a guy who is set to be the ace of the rotation in 2013.
Despite the lack of logic, those types of moves are exactly what the Rockies continue to make, explaining it away as something that has to be done in concession to the altitude in which the team plays half of their games in.
The Rockies are going back to a 5-man rotation. In fact, they already have been back to a 5-man rotation for the better part of two weeks. However, they continue down the path of allowing the starter to throw just 75 pitches before the hook comes out.
The move was done clearly in an effort to force the young starters to learn how to throw strikes. While it has been successful to a certain degree in that regard, it has also backfired in so many ways. The young pitchers now fret when a batter fouls off five or six pitches, driving their pitch count up, even though they are throwing strikes and making their pitch.
The reality is, it has been said hundreds of times, this theory doesn't work. The Rockies have admitted that they are all but abandoning it heading into spring training, so the question must be asked now, why wouldn't they just ditch the whole idea right away and start using conventional logic to determine when a pitcher comes out?
If a pitcher is pitching well and getting outs, wait until he starts to tire, or the opposing team gets to him. If a pitcher is struggling, go to the bullpen. It doesn't matter the altitude, the Rockies need to start thinking with logic, rather than grasping at straws.
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