|It's time to see what Tyler Matzek can do in the big leagues.|
On Sunday, in what might go down as the worst road trip in Colorado Rockies history (and that is saying something), the Rockies supposed ace looked like the kid on your 11-year-old team who forgot he had a game that day and showed up a couple of minutes before the first pitch.
What a joke.
This is the same Jhoulys Chacin who won 14 games a year ago. This is the same Chacin who has been so highly touted since he was a prospect. When the Rockies needed him the most, he looked like he forgot it was his day to pitch.
On Sunday, Chacin looked lost. In the 1st inning it was clear what kind of day Chacin was going to have. Chacin started the game by walking Michael Bourn. He then threw wildly to first base, allowing Bourn to move up, which essentially didn't matter as Chacin proceeded to walk Asdrubal Cabrera, then give up a base hit to Michael Brantley. That was just the beginning. Eight batters later and three runs on the board, Chacin had walked three, including Jason Giambi with the bases loaded, and done the exact opposite that the Rockies struggling offense needed from him.
Many times, when a team is struggling at the plate like the Rockies have been for the past week-and-a-half, it takes a pitcher delivering a great outing to get the offense over the hump. It requires a start that allows the offense to score three runs and still pick up a win. Chacin is supposed to be that guy for the Rockies. He has been anything but that in his return from the disabled list.
While the Rockies offense once again crawled back into the game, putting up four runs and tying the game, it was another heartbreaking loss for the Rockies. This time it was Adam Ottavino's turn to hang a slider and watch it get bashed over the fence for a walk-off bomb.
The Rockies limp home after a 2-7 road trip that has been absolutely devastating to a fan base that thought this was actually the year.
Here is the problem. Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett continue to convince the fan base that this team has enough talent to compete. The fan base is so hungry for a winner that they buy in every year. Every April Rockies fans are starstruck and believe that if only Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez can stay healthy that this team could surprise everyone and win the National League West.
That is a great thought, and frankly, it might actually be true. The front office has built a team that is talented. It has the ability to compete and can actually win games. However, the front office is so rigid and timid that they won't pull the trigger on a move until it is too late. They stand by their team that they assembled in the offseason and never look to find ways to continue building that team throughout the year.
The team that is talented is great, but it relies on everything going perfectly. Essentially, O'Dowd should demand an apology from John Elway after Elway uttered the phrase, "there is no Plan B." The Rockies have been using that motto for years. When the exact script doesn't go just as it was planned, the Rockies are dumbfounded. Instead of shifting on the fly and finding resources to patch the holes that come up during the season, the Rockies front office finds someone or something to blame. They blame the players attitudes or injuries, or the altitude, but they don't do anything to fix a broken model.
The team is built to rely on Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez producing and being healthy. It relies on pitchers like Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa dominating most nights. When Chacin doesn't live up to that expectation and when one of the stars gets hurt, the Rockies don't have an answer.
If O'Dowd and Geivett want to win, they have to be willing to scrap their original plans and start re-writing after the season has started. They have to be flexible and find ways to get the team through rough patches. When their original plan of having Franklin Morales be a starter clearly doesn't work out, as is the case right now, instead of doing nothing about it, the front office needs to scramble and find an alternative.
With pressure from fans and the media, the Rockies simply dig their heels in deeper. They get offended that anyone would second guess their leadership and plan, and continue to do nothing as another season spirals out of control.
This year, with a farm system deep with pitching talent and a Major League roster in desperate need of additional talent, it's time for the front office to start pushing buttons. The Rockies don't have to go with their two studs, Jon Gray and Eddie Butler, they can go with Christian Bergman or Tyler Matzek as a stop-gap if they feel the other two need more time to develop.
If the Rockies are concerned with 40-man roster issues when Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson return, they shouldn't be. Charlie Culberson seems like a nice guy, but if he has to be dealt for a minor leaguer to free up some room, so be it. If Franklin Morales has to be designated for assignment to add another player to the 40-man roster, would anyone cry themselves to sleep? If Rob Scahill has to be the sacrificial lamb, would it be a huge deal? Frankly, he would probably pass through waivers.
The reality is, with the Rockies sitting at .500 and watching their season sink in quick sand, there isn't time to waste. After seeing the model fail year-in and year-out, hoping and praying that the two big-name stars produce and stay healthy, it is time to be willing to adjust the model, make some changes and see if something else might work. The farm is full of names that might be the right fit.
It is time to see if someone might be able to answer the call. They certainly couldn't be worse than Franklin Morales.
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