Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Colorado Rockies win in extra innings as Brett Anderson shows his talent

Brett Anderson was brilliant on Wednesday night.
Give credit where credit is due.

The Colorado Rockies have been horrible, but they would have been much better had it not been for the fluke injury that Brett Anderson sustained in April, shelving him for the remainder of the first half of the season.

While Anderson has a multi-page injury history, it was still a great move for the Rockies and Dan O'Dowd to pick him up in a swap that sent Drew Pomeranz, who simply was never going to be effective as a Rockie, to the A's for a guy in Anderson who has legitimate top of the rotation stuff.

Anderson went seven strong innings on Wednesday night. After a 16-inning affair on Tuesday night, the Rockies desperately needed their starter to give them some depth. Anderson did just that with a masterful performance. In his seven innings of work, the lefty gave up only two runs. He did allow 11 hits, but he worked his way out of the jam by striking out nine without allowing a walk.

Of course, in typical Rockies fashion, the team found a way to nearly blow the game again on Wednesday. With two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning, Tommy Kahnle looked like he had completed a perfect inning to get the Rockies just three outs away from helping to wipe away the sting of a terrible defeat the previous night. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro hit a deep ball to center field. With Drew Stubbs backing up to catch the ball on the warning track, the Rockies center fielder simply whiffed on the fly ball, allowing Castro to reach second base and the Cubs to extend the inning. As is often the case, after an eight-pitch at-bat, Luis Valbuena smashed a Kahnle change up deep into the right field bleachers, tying the game up and almost certainly pouring salt in the wound that the Rockies were feeling from the previous night.

Luckily for the Rockies, Brandon Barnes, who has struggled mightily in July, pulled through in the top of the 10th inning. With the bases loaded, Barnes was able to knock a slider into left field, scoring the Rockies go-ahead run and giving them an extra inning run, something they couldn't do in seven chances the previous night. The Rockies added a run on a wild pitch and suddenly found out what it is like to win a game in extra innings.

The Rockies have been awful in 2014. There is simply no way around it. They have seen injuries decimate a team that lacked the depth to handle a few injuries, let alone the abundant amount that the Rockies have faced throughout the year.

Some fans are hoping for the Rockies to lose as many games as possible. They believe that if the club loses over 100 games in the season that it might make Dick Monfort realize just how bad this team has been built and how inept his front office is. If he sees that, he might, he just might, make changes and go in a different direction.

The problem with that line of thinking is that it assumes that Monfort thinks conventionally about baseball. The reality is, Monfort doesn't know the difference between losing 85 games, 90 games or 115 games. He isn't a baseball guy. The total number of losses is simply a number. The reality is, Monfort not being a baseball minded person is forced to rely on O'Dowd for all of his baseball information. When O'Dowd speaks about baseball, Monfort is mesmerized by his knowledge and seems to think that there is no way that anyone out there could possibly know more about the game than O'Dowd.

Ultimately, it means that the Rockies could lose every game that they play for the rest of the season and O'Dowd could point to the talent at the lower level of the minor leagues for the sixth straight off-season and the Rockies owner will almost certainly believe him and give him another shot and believe that the talent is just on the horizon for this franchise.

That excuse and reason for keeping O'Dowd has never had the ramifications that it will have this offseason. While it has set the Rockies back in the past, the reality is, based on what so many reports have said, without major changes to the structure of the club, Troy Tulowitzki will almost certainly approach the Rockies about finding him a new home.

Essentially, Monfort avoiding the tough decision of firing his buddy O'Dowd is forcing the tough decision of having to trade Tulowitzki.

While some will suggest that Tulo isn't a team player and that he has his injury issues, both of which are legitimate, those fans also must acknowledge that trading Tulowitzki is not something that would represent a step forward for the Rockies organization. If nothing else, it would signal a true long-term rebuilding process, one that will begin with Dan O'Dowd making the decisions of where the team focuses.

The good news for the Rockies is that it seems that they are content on pulling the trigger on Anderson's option season in 2015. They also seem like they are planning on finding a way to bring back ace Jorge De La Rosa. If those two guys, coupled with the continued growth of Tyler Matzek and the emergence of at least one of their pitching prospects, the Rockies could at least have a decent enough rotation to be respectable.

However, the reality is, it is time for changes in Colorado. It is time for Monfort to realize that this group has had far too many chances and have used way too many excuses. While the runs of 2007 and 2009 were fun and brought joy to so many Rockies fans, those seasons can't be ridden any longer. There have been far too many teams that have under-performed, far too many prospects who never lived up to their hype, and far too many excuses since then.

While some fans continue to root for losses, the reality is, fans may as well root for the team to prove them wrong, because if they truly want to see success, it is going to have to come with this regime in place. Ownership isn't going to get rid of them. Fans are stuck with them, so they need to hope that O'Dowd actually gets it right sometime in the next few years.

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  1. As a frustrated fan I am tired of the 'Wait until next year' routine that goes on every year. I am tired of hearing about how great the farm system is. None of that matters come June every season when the Rockies take their typical dive. There is no depth and there is no pitching. DLR and Anderson have had good seasons thus far and DLR is the best the Rockies have. Put those two on the Giants, Dodgers, Braves, Tigers. They are #3 or #4 guys at best. The Rockies have no true ace. No guy that scares the hell out of the opposition. They have no bullpen (gee, ya think so?). They do not have one guy in the lineup right now that teams game plan for. No one guy that could be subject to an intentional walk at any time given the situation.

    I want to see some big names traded today. I want a total rebuild. I have a strong suspicion that nothing happens today, which would be more of the same from years passed. So we will get a repeat of the last 5 years.

    The Rockies may win 80 games next year and everyone will feel HOPEful of good things to come next season. Then next season comes and they win 65 games but we'll hear about injuries and how the farm systems has guys that are a year away. What they have isn't THAT and in the future. There isn't one guy on the big league club or in the farm system that should be untouchable. When you have a history of losing you have to do something to change the culture. Blow this thing up and start fresh. The worst that can happen is another losing season...but we already have that so you aren't risking much. Only the chance at winning.

    1. As I suspected. Absolutely NO MOVES. They could have at least traded or released Dinger. I guess their plan is to hope injuries are banned in the league next year.

    2. Doing nothing to improve a poor product is like a 400 pound man continuing to eat the same food and hoping the next burger he eats has less calories and fat than the last one he ate with the hopes that he will eventually lose 200 pounds.

  2. D.Martin - "Anderson went seven strong innings on Wednesday night. ... the lefty gave up only two runs. He did allow 11 hits, but he worked his way out of the jam by striking out nine without allowing a walk."

    Re - Against the 2nd-worst team in the NL (go Roxs!) 11H in 7IP and needing multiple double plays to avoid a blowout is terrible. The Ks and ERA are nice, but it could just as easily be said he got knocked around by a AAAA offense.

    In other news, the Cubs traded their two-best pitchers earlier this month to rebuild for 2015. Yet, they're still better than the Roxs and already preparing for next season. The Roxs, meanwhile, can't hit nor pitch past that AAAA club and plan to stand pat and do it all over again next season. When do '15 tickets go on sale? I can hardly wait.

    1. D.Martin - "While Anderson has a multi-page injury history, it was still a great [trade] for ... Anderson who has legitimate top of the rotation stuff. ... The good news for the Rockies is that it seems that they are content on pulling the trigger on Anderson's [$12mil?] option season in 2015."

      Re - Such praise of Anderson is expected from the Rockies propaganda machine and reporters trying to stay cozy, but I'm surprised to read it here.

      I could list all Anderson's issues and shortcomings, but instead point out the Yankees stated they weren't interested in trading for "mid-level arms" like Anderson when asked. Yep, Rockies' FO seems excited about a $12mil middle/back-of-the-rotation arm. Horray!