Saturday, August 2, 2014

The 'what if' game can be played both ways for the Colorado Rockies

The Rockies never expected Blackmon to contribute the way he has.
It was an outcome that surprised no one.

For the second straight night, and for the seemingly 100th time in a miserable season for the Colorado Rockies, a starting pitcher looked like a Cy Young candidate against their makeshift lineup.

On Saturday night it was Rick Porcello's chance to improve his ERA and look like a star. Through eight innings, Porcello gave up just two runs on five hits. He struck out 10 Rockies batters while walking only two.

Tyler Matzek did what a rookie starter is going to do. He struggled. In just four innings of work, the lefty gave up eight earned runs. The Tigers racked up 10 hits against him, and it probably became the first night in which Matzek would simply prefer to forget in his short big league career.

Ironically enough for the Rockies starter, with the long extra inning game in Chicago on Tuesday night, the Rockies needed to call on Matzek to finish the game. He took the loss that night, and with his poor performance on Saturday now has two losses through the first six games of the seven game road trip.

Many of the Rockies apologists are smart enough to hide behind a large rock at this point in the season. Most of them realize that even though they will once again be filled with hope when 2015 rolls around, the reality is that this team is a complete disaster, regardless of the injuries that have been sustained.

However, there are still a few vocal apologists out there thinking that the Rockies actually deserve to be let off of the hook for the miserable season that this team is going through. They point to the injuries in the pitching staff, the time away from the field that Carlos Gonzalez went through earlier in the season and the fact that there was no way to expect the bullpen to be as bad as it has been.

Those are all of the standard excuses that Rockies fans have been hearing from the front office since 2011. However, while the Rockies have certainly had their fair share of injuries, it is easy to forget the things that have actually gone better than expected for this club.

What if the Rockies starting rotation hadn't have been hurt? Well, the short period of time that Jhoulys Chacin did spend on the mound while healthy resulted in absolutely terrible baseball. Chacin was supposed to at least compete for the Opening Day spot. He was brutal when he was healthy.

What about the success that was seen early on from Jordan Lyles? Sure, his injury hurt the Rockies, but he was a guy who the Rockies were planning on spending the majority of the season in Colorado Springs fine tuning his game. Because of injuries to Chacin, and then Tyler Chatwood, the Rockies were required to use Lyles at the big league level. He pitched well above his expectations and actually gave the Rockies some very consistent, good at-bats.

The Rockies had high hopes for Charlie Blackmon, but did they expect him to be the National League player of the month in April? Did they expect him to make the All-Star team in his first season as a starter? The answer to that is a clear 'no.' If the Rockies had known what they had in both Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, they never would have made the move to bring Drew Stubbs into the fold. They wouldn't have needed six outfielders to start the season.

Another contributor who could not have been expected to bring the amount of positivity that he has brought is Brandon Barnes. The tattooed outfielder was hitting in the .300 range well into the month of May. Keep in mind, before becoming a Rockie, Barnes had just over 500 at-bats in the big leagues, however, he had struck out 156 times in those 500 at-bats and walked only 26 times. Barnes was expected to contribute, but his first two months of the season were far more than anyone would have guessed.

Drew Stubbs and his .306 batting average was also something that the Rockies couldn't have been counting on. He was brought in to platoon against left-handed pitchers, as he struggles mightily right-on-right.

The overall point is simple. There are plenty who want to point to the fact that the Rockies have had so many things go poorly for them. However, it is easy to forget in such a terrible season that actually, things could be much worse. For every piece of bad luck the Rockies have dealt with, they have had something go extremely well for them.

The Rockies will predictably start the annual excuse tour soon. While the 2014 campaign has been marred by injuries, Rockies fans shouldn't let some fancy talking convince them that everything just bounced in the wrong direction. In fact, this franchise actually had plenty of good breaks go their way in 2014. However, they simply weren't built to succeed. They were built to cross their fingers and hope for the best.

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  1. Good news! The Roxs come home to play the 2nd-worst NL team, the Cubs. This 'may' give the FO and cheerleaders a reprieve from reality. We 'may' even see a winning streak (2 games?).

    Tonight ROOT's post-game attempted to excuse the terrible loss as "expected" since the Tigers are so good. Did they forget the Roxs looked just as bad in the Cubs' series just a few days ago?
    Does ROOT think the Roxs are so far from having a competitive team they may as well rest their stars against .500+ teams since there's no chance to win anyways - aka pick your battles? If so, they'll be resting a lot since SD and AZ would be the only ones "in our league".

  2. Sylvia ScalabriniAugust 3, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    David, I have not given up on this team they are only 15 games out of wildcard and I enjoy going to the games still with my life long partner Lisa. We will continue to go to games and root our Roxs home.

  3. D.Martin - "The Rockies will predictably start the annual excuse tour soon."

    Re - Did they ever stop? P.Saunders mentions in today's D.Post the Rockies have one of the worst defenses, by several metrics, in the NL. They have one of the worst away batting averages. Their bullpen is -- their bullpen.
    Tulo, Cargo, Cuddy and Anderson shouldn't have been expected to stay healthy. Even if every starter (short Mr.A) had remained healthy, how would that have made the Rockies a competitive team when everything else is cellar-worthy?

  4. The whole Colorado Rockies organization from Owner, to General Manager, to Scouts, to Manager, to Coaches, are a disgrace to baseball. Don't blame the players, most of them belong in Class A ball. TOTALLY DISGUSTING. WORST RECORD IN BASEBALL. ANOTHER FINISH IN LAST PLACE. STOP GOING TO GAMES, BOYCOTT. Even the TV announcers are terrible. All they talk about id their playing days. WHO CARES. I watch on computer and listen to the other teams commentators, because they have more to say about Rockies players than ROOT sports guys we have do. They are a joke. This organization has become as popular as the US Congress 12% approval rating.