Monday, June 9, 2014

Here come the excuses for the Colorado Rockies

Christian Bergman was great in his Major League debut.
If the Colorado Rockies stay healthy. If this team finds a way to keep guys off of the disabled list. Last year was sabotaged by injuries. This year they are going to be healthy.

Those are all things that the typical Rockies fan gets used to hearing every year. Those types of statements start flying about the same time the club starts to crash and burn in the standings every single season.

First off, let's acknowledge that the Rockies have had terrible luck in the injury department over the past few seasons. They have seen an extreme number of players hit the disabled list for a wide variety of strange reasons. There is no denying that it seems like the Rockies deal with more injuries than other teams.

However, every other team also deals with injuries. Every team sees good players spend time on the disabled list nursing injuries. It is easy to think that just the Rockies deal with tough injuries, but the reality is, every team goes through it every single year. Playing 162 games in a six month stretch ensures that multiple players will deal with some sort of injury every year.

Despite the fact that every team has injuries, Dan O'Dowd and his crew are always extremely quick to point out how many Rockies have ended up on the disabled list. He points to it in radio interviews, he talks about it in the offseason, he makes sure everyone knows how unfortunate the team that he built is. He talks about how much talent the Rockies have and how, if only things had gone their way, how they would be true contenders. O'Dowd and co-general manager Bill Geivett seem to go on a radio tour every August to lament their poor fortune.

The most frustrating part about the excuses is not that the front office continues to use the excuse every year, it is that so many Rockies fans continue to buy into the excuses over and over again. \

On Monday, the hits kept coming for the Rockies. After adding Jordan Lyles to the disabled list last week, the Rockies were forced to put Eddie Butler on the DL after making his much anticipated Major League debut on Friday. This news came on the heels of Michael Cuddyer being added to the disabled list after hurting his shoulder on Thursday night. If that wasn't enough, the Rockies also announced

The losses certainly don't help the Rockies, who have been in a miserable situation since losing Nolan Arenado to injury. The training room seems to have more guys in it than in the clubhouse. It is like salt in the wound when it is coupled with the Rockies current situation, losing 10-of-their-last-11.

However, the injuries aren't the main reason that the Rockies are fading quickly. They are losing because they weren't built to handle a 162 games. Despite a great outing from Christian Bergman in his Major League debut on Monday, the Rockies offense failed to get anything going against Braves pitching. Gavin Floyd, coming off of Tommy John surgery, danced his way through the Rockies lineup for 6-2/3 innings, giving up just one run.

While Bergman gave the Rockies offense a great opportunity to win, it seems that most nights the starting pitching doesn't get the team anywhere close to a win. Jorge De La Rosa and Lyles were the only two pitchers to give the Rockies any semblance of consistency. The rest of the rotation has been a huge issue. Jhoulys Chacin looks like he turned the corner on Saturday, but after four terrible starts in a row for him, the jury is still out.

Beyond the starting pitching has been the real issue for the Rockies. The bullpen has been absolutely terrible. There isn't one single member of the bullpen that has been dependable. Adam Ottavino started the season very well, but has struggled of late. Rex Brothers, nearly an All-Star a year ago, looks nothing like the guy who dominated both righties and lefties a year ago. Matt Belisle is almost a guarantee to give up a run after his heavy workload over the past four seasons and the idea of 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins being the trusted closer for the Rockies might be the biggest joke of the Rockies offseason.

Even without injuries, this Rockies pen has been so exposed that there is no excuse for the lack of talent that Walt Weiss is forced to call upon every night when his starting pitcher runs out of gas.

The Rockies may seem to have more injuries than other teams, but keep in mind, part of that is because of the way the club is assembled. Cuddyer may have had a hard-luck injury filling in at third base, but the reality is, Cuddyer is 35-years-old. He isn't a spring chicken anymore and any kind of injury is going to be magnified due to his age. The injury to CarGo is something that the Rockies should have planned for. Of course no one can predict an exact injury, but the reality is, he dealt with finger issues a year ago and with a new grip coming into the season, there was a decent chance that it might cause some sort of injury. Couple that with the fact that CarGo has been on the disabled list several times in his career and the Rockies should have had an option.

The Rockies want to blame injuries because they know that fans will buy it. The front office also seems to understand that Dick Monfort will also take the bait on that as well, and not hold yet another failed season against the members of the front office that he employs.

It is fail-proof. If the fans buy it, and if Monfort buys it, why not use it time and time again? It removes the accountability from the front office and allows them to continue to go down the exact same failed path that they insist will build a winner--if only everyone stays healthy for a full season.

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  1. What you wrote here is so true, David.

    The rotation is not built to last. Not a single "workhorse" 200+ inning guy was in the Opening Day rotation, and even Chacin who was DL'd to start the season has never logged 200+ innings. There was no doubt there would be failures, breakdowns, and injuries from our starters.

    The bullpen was a joke to begin with. We bring back the broke Belisle because he's a great guy and a warrior. Forget the fact that he can't pitch quality innings in consecutive games anymore. We hand out $16.5 million to a situational lefty, Boone Logan, who admitted upon being DL'd over the weekend that he's been feeling a sore elbow for, get this, 1 1/2 years!!! Great due diligence there, Dan O'Dowd. Of course, we already knew he had surgery to remove chips from that elbow last fall, but that didn't scare us from overpaying Boone. Hawkins is a great mentor to have around, but to bring in the 41 year-old and expect him to be a closer was ridiculous. He's allowing a .300 average to opposing hitters and doesn't strike many people out anymore. I could go on.

    The hitters were good when healthy, AT HOME. But the team has averaged 3.6 runs per game on the road even when healthy and before Arenado, Cargo, and Cuddyer were shelved.

    We will lose around 90 games again. Dan O'Dowd will skate by with his double-speak and disingenuous excuse-making, and Dick Monfort will be too befuddled and too clueless to change anything again, leading to more seasons like the past four in years to come, until Tulo is dealt to a contender. Then, we will REALLY be bad.

    Rinse and repeat with this losing outfit.

  2. Unrealistic fans have unrealistic expectations.

  3. The bullpen has lost how many games already...half dozen or so maybe more and they haven't been hit with injuries until just now with Logan. So no excuses there.

    Look at the list of DL for each team...the Dodgers look pretty bad and Texas is horrendous with injuries. As David mentions, the team is built for no injuries but the Rockies injuries are heavily on the starting pitching and that was suspect before the first game.

    The others, Cuddy, Cargo and Arenado, I feel only the Arenado injury is hurting us since we have adequate OF pieces.

    Again the talk of the injury bug was really being driven home by Drew last night on TV but look where they were prior....3-13 over the prior 16 the season was already circling the bowl, now the injuries are brought up.

    This team is built on the offense producing to cover up the pitching woes as was evidenced early in the season...Now that Blackmon and Morneau have cooled significantly, the Arenado injury and Wilin and Cargo not producing this year its is winding up where we usually are around June.
    To me the downfall of the team has been the bullpen and the offense ever since the road trip began. The starting pitching has kept them in most games similar to last night.

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