|Wilton Lopez was brutal on Tuesday.|
Is this team the one that showed up on Friday for the home opener and played a complete, fundamental game, which included good starting pitching and great hitting? On the other side, is this team the one the looked terrible on Opening Day in Miami last Monday or like they did on Tuesday night at Coors Field?
The answer is simple. The 2014 Colorado Rockies are both of those teams.
The reality is, when the Rockies face a sub-par pitcher at home, they are likely to crush the ball and score runs in multiple innings. When their starting pitcher can get into the 7th inning and give up three or less runs, the Rockies offense should be able to get the job done.
However, after the Rockies first few starting pitchers, especially with both Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin on the shelf, Colorado is going to have to take what they can get with the likes of Franklin Morales, who has great stuff, but has consistently frustrated scouts throughout his career because he simply can't harness the talent that he possesses.
While Jordan Lyles and Juan Nicasio have been good, don't be surprised when they have a few awful outings themselves. Nicasio has shown great improvement, but he relies on on his fastball far too often, which is good, but will eventually get figured out. Lyles is still young and it should be remembered that he sports a career 5.30 ERA.
Despite the poor performances so far, both Brett Anderson and Jorge De La Rosa will find their way. They are both too good to not contribute in a significant way before the dog days of summer arrive.
It isn't to say that the Rockies aren't improved. This team seems like a much deeper team than they were a year ago. However, fans should remind themselves that this team is climbing out of the basement of the National League West over the past two seasons. This is a franchise that looked in absolute despair. It looked like a franchise that needed to clean out the front office and move on to the next chapter.
With that in mind, the expectations should be lowered slightly. When games like Tuesday's 15-4 debacle occur, the first place that fans should turn to is the box score. If one of the questionable pitchers is the man who started the game, there shouldn't be too much concern.
Tuesday, however, showed the Rockies one thing. For the better part of 2013, Rockies fans were wondering why Wilton Lopez was on the roster. He was brutal. Despite a stretch of decent outings in '13, Lopez was a disaster. The Rockies continued to stick with him, but still found themselves burned by his lack of command.
Lopez turned in a performance that will certainly be remembered as a down moment in his career. He pitched just 2/3 of an inning, giving up eight hits, six runs and three home runs.
The bullpen is also going to be an area that the Rockies will need some luck. Lopez hasn't shown that he can get outs, Matt Belisle has had a couple decent outings, but also has shown that the wear and tear on his arm over the years may have taken it's toll. Chad Bettis has also struggled. That fact should have Rockies fans wondering how dependable their bullpen will be.
The Rockies still have a chance to go out and win a series, and also win a homestand on Wednesday afternoon. A win would suggest that they can get the job done at Coors Field. If they can dominate at home, they just have to tread water on the road to be successful.
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