|It's been a while since Rex Brothers has slapped high fives.|
It isn't Brother's fault that the Colorado Rockies continue to use him in high leverage situations. It isn't his fault that the Rockies haven't told him to take a seat until he figures things out. It isn't his fault that the Rockies haven't changed his role in the slightest, despite struggling for the vast majority of the season.
On Friday night, immediately following the Rockies scratching out a couple of runs an inning earlier, the Rockies sent Brothers to the mound to try and hold the one-run lead. Instead, Brothers walked three batters in a row. He wasn't barely missing the zone either, he was missing by feet, not inches.
Don't blame Adam Ottavino, he nearly cleaned up the entire mess, recording two outs with the bases loaded. However, one center-cut fastball to recent call-up Jake Lamb sent the Rockies to their fourth straight loss on what looks to be another miserable road trip.
The problem started long before Brothers made his appearance. The problem started when Rockies starter Christian Bergman was pulled from the game before completing the 6th inning.
Usually when a starter gets removed from the game before completing six innings, they weren't very effective. The other team has teed off on them and they have struggled. That isn't always the case with the Rockies. On Friday night, Bergman was removed in the midst of a two-hit shutout. The right-hander had walked five Diamondback batters, but none of them had caused any damage. In true Colorado Rockies fashion, Bergman was removed from the game after throwing just 95 pitches.
The Rockies insist that they are certain that injuries come when a pitcher goes over the 100 pitch mark. They believe in the theory so much that they are willing to lose games in order to prove it. Even if the theory is true, why would that be the case for a guy like Bergman. The rookie is making just his second start since coming off of the disabled list. He was out for almost exactly two months. His injury wasn't to his arm, it was a broken left hand he sustained on a comebacker way back in June.
If Bergman's arm isn't fresh enough to complete six innings, or even throw in the range of 110 to 115 pitches, then he has no business pitching in the big leagues. It is as simple as that.
Instead, the Rockies stick to their theory, which requires them to go deeper into their bullpen. They initially called upon Christian Friedrich, was was very good in his 1-1/3 innings, however, that only got them to the 8th inning, when Brothers was called upon and failed--again.
The Rockies stubbornness was shown in two ways on Friday. First was the ridiculous 100-pitch theory put into place once again, despite a young starter trying to figure out his way in the big league. After that it was continuing to trot Brothers to the mound in late innings with the game on the line despite the fact that he has shown throughout the course of 2014 that he isn't capable of pitching well in those situations.
As September approaches in a season that can't end soon enough, the only thing that the Rockies have to do is see what they have moving forward. A guy like Bergman is in the very early stages of his big league career. Drafted in the 20th round, no one truly believed that he would make it to the big leagues. With that type of situation, not only do the Rockies need to see what they have in Bergman, but Bergman needs to gain experience in tough big league situations where the outcome of the game doesn't really matter. In late August, these games don't matter anymore.
The Rockies can have their theories. They can think outside the box and try different things. However, when those theories simply aren't working, the Rockies need to be quick to demolish those plans and go back to the drawing board. They also have to look at their theories and see if their team has the capability of playing baseball at a decent level with those theories in place.
Right now, the Rockies seem intent on the 100 pitch count. However, they don't have the bullpen to handle the extra workload. The team's bullpen has an ERA that is nearly one full run higher than the second worst team. Asking them to take on more innings at this point simply isn't wise.
The Rockies are stuck in a terrible season. They might lose 100 games. However, the front office and manager Walt Weiss aren't doing enough to try and avoid that dubious number. Instead, they are implementing theories that clearly won't work with the 25-man roster that they are working with.
The Rockies are bad, but their stubbornness makes them even worse. If a theory isn't working. Ditch it. It can be revisited later. They need to stop making things worse by insisting on using a team in a way that they simply aren't built to be.
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