|Years of overuse has finally caught up to Matt Belisle.|
BY: CAMERON PARSONS
Another strong pitching performance, this one by Tyler Matzek, was wasted by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Each game of the three game set against the Pirates, was very much the same. The Rockies would get an early lead and a strong pitching performance from the starter, only for the bullpen to blow the lead late in the game.
For the first time in a very long time, the Rockies starters had quality starts (six or more innings pitched, less than three earned runs). Despite that, the Rockies failed to come away with a win and the bullpen continued to struggle. It is beginning to look like the only way for the Rockies to win is for the starter to pitch a complete game.
Every fan, player, and coach knows that once the bullpen comes in, there is no certainty to who will win. The bullpen just can’t seem to hold a lead.
For the year, the Rockies bullpen has been horrible with a 4.73 earned run average. Tommy Kahnle, a Rule-5 draft pick, and LaTroy Hawkins, a 41-year old, are the best pitchers in the bullpen. That is not the way it should be, but it is just the sad reality. Until the Rockies can bring in another solid reliever, Ottavino and Brothers will struggle due to overuse, and the bullpen will continue to regularly lose games.
Road woes and bullpen woes will almost guarantee lost series on the road. The Rockies are just not a team that knows how to win on the road. It has always been that way and the mentality is stuck in players heads. They come to the ballpark with the hopes to win, but on the inside they doubt they can. While it is not easily seen, this mentality drags teams down. It makes it harder to win, even when your team is in the lead, the players have doubts. Errors, mental mistakes, and sloppy play become regular occurrences in a game.
You can see the Rockies with this mentality. The normally stellar defender, Nolan Arenado, has made three errors in three games. Batters are failing to drive runners in, Runners are making mistakes, and pitchers are leaving balls over the plate.
The Colorado Rockies need to change their mentality. Without a change in mentality, the Rockies will continue to collapse. A player in the clubhouse needs to step up and change the direction of the season.
Presumably, Troy Tulowitzki will be the one to step up, as he is the team leader. However, this is a perfect time for young players to grow into the role of a leader. Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, or DJ LeMahieu can all make a difference in the clubhouse and step into a leadership role. While they may all still be young players, all three are talented and respected. With strong play, these three can guide the Rockies back to the winning ways of early in the season and at least finish with a respectable record.
This is the perfect time for a new leader to establish themselves. It is important for the team and the future of the team as they look to establish themselves for the 2015 season. Whether someone steps up is still to be seen. When the time comes though, the hope is that the Rockies will have a new and more positive mentality.
Until then, the Rockies will have to figure out a way to win baseball games with an unreliable bullpen.