|Brett Anderson was brilliant on Wednesday night.|
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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