Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oft-injured stars deserve some share of the blame for the Colorado Rockies struggles

Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki spend plenty of time on the DL.
It was a line all too familiar to Colorado Rockies fans. Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with lingering knee tendinitis and a non-recovering ankle.

With CarGo back on the disabled list, the club recalled Ben Paulsen, who impressed in his initial debut. He picked up right where he left off on Sunday, drilling a two-run homer in the 2nd inning to get the scoring started for the Rockies.

In other news of the day, Troy Tulowitzki was flown back to Denver to have more opinions on his strained hip flexor tendon that has landed him on the disabled list dating back to late July.

While the injury excuse has been something that the Rockies front office has used, overused, then used some more, there has to be a certain level of frustration with the amount of time that the two stars have spent on the DL. This is CarGo's second stint on the disabled list. He missed a month with a fatty mass in his finger. That injury cost him a month, but was the cause of his terrible beginning portion of the season.

The second trip to the disabled list comes almost one month to the day after he finally got back into the lineup. The failed 2014 campaign for Gonzalez comes after he played in just 110 games a year ago while dealing with finger issues.

For Gonzalez, the injuries always seem to be random and strange. He almost seems like he is stuck in a body that is much older than what his 28-year-old age suggests that he is. From knee tendinitis, to finger issues, to ankle injuries, the concerning factor with CarGo is that each and every one of his issues seems to linger. His injuries never take him out of the lineup for a day or two, they always seem to flare back up and take a long time to heal.

Troy Tulowitzki is quite the opposite. If someone asks why he is out of the lineup, it only takes one quick guess to figure out the reason. The guess of upper-leg injury is correct almost every single time. Tulo plays all-out, which creates a reason for many of the injuries. However, Rockies fans have long cringed every time their shortstop has to leg out an infield hit, or turn on the afterburners trying to score from second on a base hit.

Who can forget when Tulo missed a stretch of the 2013 season with what the team called "heavy legs." That is an injury that the shortstop probably will never live down.

The frustrating part shouldn't be the amount of money that both Tulo and CarGo make. Muscles don't look at bank accounts before they decide to strain themselves. However, the frustrating part is that both players are such game-changers when they are both in the lineup. At the plate, each player can change the game with one swing of the bat. The ball jumps off of Gonzalez's bat like it does with few other players. Tulowitzki hits to all fields and when he gets hot, there is no one in baseball who can get him out.

On top of the abilities that they bring at the plate, both players aren't just good fielders, they are two of the best at their positions. Tulowitzki has as much range as any shortstop in baseball and possesses arm strength as well. Gonzalez gets to line drives and fly balls that no one else would come close to and routinely throws a strike to the base where a runner has the audacity to try and advance to when the ball is hit to him.

Both players change the course of every single game they play in. They affect the way a pitcher has to prepare for his start, the affect the way an opposing manager has to use his bullpen, and they give some breathing room to the Rockies pitching staff, something that means more than most people are probably willing to believe.

With all due respect to the rest of the lineup, but the Rockies are a completely different team without one or both of those guys on the field. They simply aren't difficult to pitch to and they have no one that a pitcher is intimidated to face.

By no means is having both of those guys out of the lineup an excuse for the Rockies front office. Having no backup plan whatsoever is exactly why the Rockies struggle so mightily without those guys out there. Dan O'Dowd and his friends who make decisions haven't done anything to make the team better, knowing that their two superstars are often the stars of the training room.

O'Dowd can't use the injuries as an excuse for the Rockies failures, but fans have every right to be frustrated with the amount of time those guys spend on the disabled list. It isn't that a fan is suggesting that it is either players fault that they are constantly getting injured. No one is questioning either players desire to be on the field. However, in a year in which the Rockies are the laughingstock of baseball, it doesn't help that two game-changers are nursing injuries that are seemingly hard to diagnose.

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  1. D.Martin - "While the injury excuse has been something that the Rockies front office has used, overused, then used some more... Having no backup plan whatsoever is exactly why the Rockies struggle so mightily..."

    Re - Injuries HAVE been a major issue for the Roxs this year and the last few. As you say, it's never a good excuse and brings to the forefront the lack of depth within the organization; We have no developing SS, 3B, pitchers or C, apparently, all the way down to AA as everyone near contributing in the next few years has been in Denver this season.

    A bigger issue is the cause of these ongoing and abundant injuries. Some say "altitude", but I don't buy it. Altitude is an advantage which I know first hand, all other CO teams use as do US Olympians. Some say "bad luck", mainly the FO, but that's as uselessly dismissive as saying "aliens".
    No, the injuries are exclusive to the Rockies organization and it'd be safe to look at their medical, health and training system - their wellness regime. I consider it one that brings upon and causes injuries, not one of healing or benefit. They spit on the Hippocratic oath and cause only harm.

  2. The real question is how much does the team doctors have to share the blame, 'specially with CarGo and Tulo?

    CarGo didn't spontaneously grow a fatty tumor in that finger. It was there before. With all the hand issues last year, why wasn't the exploratory surgery done after last year? That finger never seemed to get better. Any half wit doctor could have looked at him after a month into the off season and said something still isn't right here, let's look into other options.

    Same with Tulo. It seems like they keep treating him, but never go looking for or addressing the root cause of the problem. The scar tissue surgery was an attempt, but clearly wasn't the root cause. Time to open that leg up and see what is really going on.

    I don't blame either player for getting hurt. They both play all out all the time. But when it's the same injury over and over and over and over there has to be something else going on that time won't heal.

    1. 2:34 - "The real question is how much does the team doctors have to share the blame..."

      Re - The procrastination and solution of "rest" goes beyond just Tulo and Cargo. Chacin had a shoulder impingement = rest it. Then the rear labrum frayed = rest in. Now the rotator is wearing = rest it.
      Years ago there was a slew of wrist injuries (Jeff Baker, Chris Nelson, Ian Stewart, etc) that I guessed was from over-training and for each = rest it. Stewart later claimed the Roxs new he was hurt, but gave him painkillers and told to play without necessary treatment or surgery. All of this isn't simply bad medicine, but willfully negligent assault.

  3. This team always packs up Tulo and Cargo into their little boxes and puts them back on the shelf the last month or two of a losing season, just like little collectible toys. These two will NEVER play a full season, no matter what. I've actually counted their Games Played vs Possible Games since the start of their careers, and both play less than 70% of the time. Sell them off -- if you can...

    1. Time to consider dumping them both!! Yup, seriously, get someone who plays 90 percent of the season, not 60 percent!! Do IT! But, als it won't happen with this management in place!! HA!!!

  4. I've totally given up on the Rockies! Why not trade Cargo for sure, and most likely Tulo as well. They don't win with them anyway. The Rockies simply need 2 top-tier starting pitchers, along with Dela Rosa. They should unload Cuddyer too. Go with Dickerson, Blackmon and Stubbs in the outfield. Enough already of these overpaid "stars" who spend at least half the season on the DL. Go with the "young blood" that WANTS to play and win. Thanks Walt, we love ya, but see ya! If there are no changes made in the front office, then you know the Rockies will remain the pathetic, loser organization they have been for many years now. As well as the laughingstock of major league baseball. I'd imagine those 3 "stars" I mentioned above would be more than happy to get out of this "loser-fest"!