|Dan O'Dowd should be selling used cars.|
Why? Because many of the most ardent fans of the Colorado Rockies aren't just trusting him, they are buying everything he says hook, line and sinker.
Open up a new tab in the browser and take a look over on Twitter. What might be expected is a string of irrational, completely emotional outbursts directed at the Rockies from fans who are fed up with the performance of this club. There are certainly plenty of those on there, but it doesn't take much digging to find those fans who aren't mad at the club, they are actually still very impressed with them.
Seriously, how can a fan not be completely disgusted with the way things have played out for the Rockies? Being positive for the future is one thing, but justifying how this team has played in the past month is completely ignorant.
However, look at some of the comments. While defending the Rockies because of injuries is something that has some legs, there are new defenses cropping up in Rockies Nation. The latest? The claim from fans that the schedule for June was really hard, so the Rockies didn't stand much of a chance.
The Rockies have certainly had a tough schedule, facing the likes of the Brewers seven times, the Dodgers six times, the Braves for a series, the Cardinals for a series and the Giants on the road. There is no doubt that any team facing those opponents, especially considering the surprise team that the Brewers have been, would have their struggles. However, being satisfied with a record of 6-21 through the first 27 games of the month is simply ridiculous. Baseball isn't like football, the better team doesn't always win. In fact, lesser teams often figure out a way to beat a better team, especially in a three game series.
The injuries have piled up for the Rockies, there is no doubt that it has effected their record. However, let's not forget that Franklin Morales has been on this team since Opening Day. He hasn't been a guy who filled a hole when people were injured, he has had a spot, without the danger of losing it, from day one. That speaks to the lack of depth within the organization.
The Rockies were without Jhoulys Chacin on Opening Day, and he was out for the close to six weeks. However, upon his return, the Rockies haven't exactly received Greg Maddux performances from the one-time ace. Saturday afternoon showed that all too clearly, as once again, Chacin got drilled early and often. The best part about Chacin's awful performances is that his velocity has been down in the mid-80's range, which should give Dan O'Dowd yet another excuse that he simply wasn't healthy.
Brett Anderson looks like he is on the horizon of coming back. He is set to make a rehab start with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox sometime around the middle of next week. Tyler Chatwood is still a little ways out after feeling tightness in his elbow during his throwing program.
It is fair to give the Rockies another chance once those two return to the rotation. They certainly have shown that they have the talent to get wins at the big league level and have the stuff to get through innings. However, if they falter, or if the Rockies continue their slide once those two return, there are no more excuses.
As Dick Monfort was introducing the media to the party deck in an exclusive walk-through before Opening Day, the Rockies infamous owner made the blunder of saying that the Brett Anderson pickup with the equivalent to the Broncos signing Peyton Manning. Well, if that is the case, then his return should be nothing short of a miracle turnaround for the Rockies. If, however, he can't be good enough to not only stop the bleeding, but make the Rockies one of the better teams in the second half of the season, then his impact wouldn't have been enough to change the outcome of what is shaping up to be one of the worst in Rockies history.
Chatwood can also impact this club, but thinking that he is an ace-type who would battle toe-to-toe with the likes of Clayton Kershaw simply isn't who Chatwood is. This is a guy who has good stuff and great velocity, but he is only a solid No.3 starter at this point in his career. Rarely does a No.3 starter turn the fortunes of a team's season.
The point is, the Rockies injuries have hurt, and they have turned certain wins into losses in 2014, but to think that this team would somehow be in first place or even second place simply doesn't add up. The Rockies are turning to guys like Christian Friedrich and Yohan Flande to start games. The Rockies want people to feel sorry for them because they have had 12 different pitchers start games for them this season. While no team is 12 deep, some fans are pretending that the first 10 were All-Star candidates. The reality is, with all due respect to Christian Bergman, Jordan Lyles, those two pitchers weren't exactly striking fear in any opponent. Lyles was great in the early going, but before his injury, he showed signs of scouting catching up with him. Bergman was a 24th round draft pick for a reason and toiled in the minor leagues for four years, despite being drafted out of college for a reason.
The guys who have been injured aren't the best pitchers in the world. These are guys who are at, or slightly above replacement value.
Eddie Butler might be better than anyone, and he found his way to the disabled list after one start. However, assuming that he can get the job done in his first summer in a big league uniform is simply asking to much. What this all means is that the Rockies have had tons of injuries to their pitchers, but by no means were they ever deep. They have more pitching prospects than before, but none of them were Major League ready coming into June. The availability of big league pitchers was almost non-existent.
For Rockies fans, it is time to quit buying the lines over and over. It is time to demand excellence and stop giving the Rockies front office another pass because for some reason, the new crop of prospects in Double-A looks promising. The front office has had long enough to learn how to develop players. Those players continue to come through the system and turn out to be mediocre. This next batch might be the real deal, but that line has been used for the past 10 years. None of those new batches of prospects have resulted in sustained, long-term success, especially on the mound.
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