Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bullpen blows it again as Colorado Rockies lose late lead for countless time

Jordan Lyles solid outing was spoiled by the Rockies pitch count rule.
Jordan Lyles glared at Walt Weiss as the Colorado Rockies manager came to take him out of the game in the 6th inning.

Starting pitchers aren't generally thrilled when their manager takes them out of the game, but Lyles face told a different story. The story was one that everyone who watches the Rockies knows all too well. When the starting pitcher leaves the game with a small lead, the Rockies are almost guaranteed to lose.

It seems that everyone knows this. Clearly it seems that Lyles knew it. Weiss, as he walked towards the mound had to have known it. The only ones who seem to not understand that a 100 pitch limit for a starting pitcher is a disaster waiting to happen when a bullpen is as bad as the Rockies.

Matt Belisle got out of the inning, but predictably, Boone Logan gave up a two-run homer to Yangervis Solarte in the following inning to put the Padres up for good.

The Rockies front office seems to be the only group that doesn't understand that in order to institute a hard pitch count, it requires having a shutdown bullpen that can be relied upon to finish off a close game. The Rockies, however, have quite the opposite. The Rockies believe that pitcher injuries occur more frequently when the start consistently throws more than 100 pitches. However, the team loses more games when the team consistently allows their bullpen to pitch with a small lead.

Logan, who is starting to rival Wilton Lopez in terms of worst Rockies acquisitions in recent years, has been a complete disaster. He two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning helped propel his ERA to an embarrassing 5.87. The unfortunate thing for the Rockies is that Logan was one of the Rockies two prized free agent signings of the offseason in order to bolster the bullpen. Many were shocked when he signed a three-year $16.5 million deal.

Many applauded the Rockies for overspending to get a free agent pitcher. However, many were appalled that the Rockies seemingly didn't do their homework on Logan. He led the American League in appearances out of the bullpen in 2012 with 80 games, then  pitched in 61 games a year ago. The overuse clearly took it's toll, as Logan had bone spurs in his elbow that the Rockies knew about before the signing. The cleanup took him to the point of him missing much of the spring and starting the year on the disabled list in order to get him right.

Logan has already had two stints on the disabled list so far with the Rockies. The club insists on using him as a full inning guy, even though much of the success in his career has come as a lefty specialist. With the pitch count theory in full effect, the Rockies have no room in their bullpen for a guy who faces only one batter. Every member of the pen needs to be equipped to throw a full inning or more, which doesn't bode well for Logan.

One positive that came out of Monday night's loss is the continued emergence of Corey Dickerson's bat. The lefty has shown that he is the real deal when it comes to hitting at the big league level. He rocked a no-doubt three-run homer in the top of the 6th inning to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead. His 10th inning home run a day ago gave the Rockies something that they have seen all too infrequently--a win.

Dickerson's bat is forcing the issue. At some point, the Rockies are no longer going to be able to see him as a platoon player who only faces right-handed pitchers. His hitting abilities are shining through. He hits the balls that are three inches off of the ground as well as the pitches that are above his letters. In his short time in the big leagues, he has proven to be an everyday player. His defense still costs the Rockies runs, but by all accounts, his work ethic will almost certainly make him a serviceable outfielder at some point soon.

How does this 2014 season get a sugar-coating? How can there be anything positive said? The issues seem to prevalent, and so glaring that it is hard to see the bright spots through the glare of ignorance that comes from the front offices at 20th & Blake.

At this point, Rockies fans are biding their time, hoping for something good to happen before the beginning of October, when hopefully they will learn that their beloved Rockies are making some much needed changes. Until then, the losing is going to continue and the embarrassment will grow. If the Rockies don't make the much needed changes, things might be historically bad in 2015.

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  1. Good read about the FO's foolish pitching theories, bullpen structure and usage, the perplexing Logan signing and the fact everyone - including Rockies player - seem to understand the game more than the Roxs' FO.

    But about Dickerson, I'm not as high on him as you and the CO media hype. There are serious, glaring issues with his game. I'd say trade him this offseason to a small park or AL team while his value is highest and our need to rebuild greatest.

  2. david
    interesting link here:
    note comments at end regarding waiver claim on Turner and cluelessness of Rockies baseball operations.