Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Landslide continues for Colorado Rockies as Juan Nicasio does his best impression of the bullpen

There was plenty for Juan Nicasio to be frustrated about.
With all of the Colorado Rockies struggles for the past month, many have pointed to Juan Nicasio being a prime candidate to become a one-inning bullpen guy.

By the looks of his outing on Tuesday night, he would fit right in with those guys. In the 1st inning, he did his best Rex Brothers impression, giving up seven runs in the frame.

The Rockies offense did their best to crawl back into the game, but what is a team supposed to do when their starting pitcher gives up 10 earned runs in less than four innings? In the end, the Rockies couldn't get anything going against elite Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and lost 13-10 in a flashback to the pre-humidor days at Coors Field.

There really isn't a bunch to discuss when it comes to the game on Tuesday. The Rockies season story has been written. For their die-hard fans, the ultimate apologists for Dan O'Dowd and his crew, the excuse will once again be the injuries. They will point first to the starting pitchers, Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson, being injured, then they will discuss missing Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, Michael Cuddyer and so many more along the way.

The realists, or as the Rockies apologists like to call them, the cynics, will point to an overall lack of gameplan from the club.

The truth often lies somewhere in the middle, and this is certainly no exception. To say that the Rockies haven't been hampered by injuries isn't being honest. The loss of Arenado may have shown the club just how valuable he is to this team. His bat and glove are valuable in themselves, but him being out of the lineup has shown how much energy he brings with him to the field.

Rockies apologists will point to Tuesday night's game and say that it was the quintessential example of a game that would have been won, had the Rockies not dealt with so many injuries. They will point to Chatwood and Anderson being out as the reason that Nicasio was starting the game to begin with. That argument, however, is short-sighted.

Anderson is a very good pitcher, but anyone who assumed that he would make 30 starts in 2014 wasn't being realistic. This is a pitcher who has only made 25 starts in the past three seasons because of numerous injuries. To think that he would be someone who would go out there every fifth day just wasn't realistic.

Also, it is easy to believe that Chatwood is a real star. He very well may be. However, he also dealt with injuries in 2013. Even though the right-hander showed promise in 2013, he only made 20 starts. He has plenty of work to do to make anyone be able to suggest that he is a proven starter who is going to be good for a long time. That isn't meant with any disrespect to Chatwood, it simply is stating that assuming that he would be incredibly better than what the Rockies have might be viewing the Rockies through purple-colored glasses.

With that said, the Rockies would be a remarkably better team with both Anderson and Chatwood on the mound. However, to assume that their injuries are the reason that the team has struggled so much is ignoring the clear holes that the Rockies have, specifically in their bullpen. Even if those two guys having rotation spots means that Franklin Morales and Nicasio would be in the pen, shoring things up, it doesn't necessarily mean that the bullpen would suddenly be dominant.

The Rockies are going through one of the worst stretches in their history. They will come out of it eventually. While they have issues that are very clear, they also have more talent and ability to win games than what they are showing currently. This team will eventually get back into their groove and figure out a way to win baseball games.

The excitement of contending, the idea that this year would be different for the Rockies, should be shelved. This team has proven that they are nearly the exact same team that they have been for several years. Sure, this time around they have some actual talent in the minor leagues, but at the big league level, this team is ill equipped to deal with injuries. They have no depth that is big league ready. That could change in the next year or so, but the reality is, currently they are not worthy of contending.

For Rockies fans it is time to move on. Dive into the prospects that the Rockies have. Get excited about the future, but don't buy the team's line in a few weeks, when things have gotten a little better, that all this team needs to do is go on a run and they could snag a playoff spot. Don't buy the same old thing that gets told to the fans every year. The run of 2007 which led to the Rockies in the World Series was so unprecedented that it likely will never happen again. For the Rockies to talk about going on a run like that again discredits the amazement of that run and what that team accomplished.

For now, Rockies fans will have to endure speed bumps. They are going to have to accept that this team isn't as good as they made everyone think that they were in April. However, there is still plenty to look forward to. But if the playoffs are what the fan base wants, they aren't going to get it in 2014.

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  1. Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivet need to go.

  2. Hey David, don't lump all of us die-hard fans in with the "Rockies apologists". I've been a die-hard fan since the Rockies arrived in Denver, but I don't make excuses for our record, year after year. Yes, we suck right now. But that doesn't mean I jump off the band wagon. I'll always be a die-hard fan; injuries, mindless front office, etc. aside.

    1. This is a very accurate statement. I think what I meant was those Rockies fans out there who suggest that you can't be a fan if you are critical of how they handle business or how they play on the field. Those types generally label themselves as the only true die-hards and act like you aren't a fan if you disagree with anything.

      That said, I think the truly die-hard fans are actually the ones who are critical, who want what is best for this team, and demand it, not just blindly following.

    2. Agreed! There are die-hard fans and then there are die-hard fans who pull the wool over their own eyes! :)

  3. Great article! It's hard to hear people talk about the run back in 2007 like it could happen again at any second. It was nothing short of remarkable.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like management just brings back players that fans are familiar with (Walt Weiss, Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook, Morales, Hawkins)? Is this just a strategy to get fans in the seats? If so that is very frustrating to this baseball fan!

    I wonder what the chances are that we'll try to go after an ace this offseason? Too bad Mike Hampton and Nagle soured management on spending big money on pitching.