|Jordan Lyles pitched decent, but was left in the game too long.|
The Colorado Rockies are the only team in baseball that goes up 7-1 and their fans feel like it won't be enough. The fans are rooting for the starter to work deep into the 7th inning, just so the terrible bullpen doesn't have to come in and do what it does best; throw gas on the fire.
Couple a terrible bullpen with even worse game management from Walt Weiss and it is a recipe for disaster. Combine the terrible bullpen, the horrific management from Weiss and sloppy, lazy, little league style defense and get a team that will lose close to 100 games.
Blame the injuries for the awful season, but don't pawn injuries off on the fans when Corey Dickerson watches a foul ball drop at his feet with no other player even close to him. Don't blame the injuries when Drew Stubbs allows a routine liner right at him to drop off the heel of his glove. Don't play the blame game when the healthy players make mistakes that are made out of pure lack of engagement.
Don't blame the injuries when Weiss can't figure out when his starting pitcher still has gas in the tank or when he is running on empty. On Tuesday night at Coors Field in front of about half Giants fans, Weiss watched starter Jordan Lyles barely get out of the 6th inning, giving up two solo home runs that allowed the Giants to crawl back into what was a 7-1 game. With the score 7-4 and Lyles through six innings, it seemed like a good outing.
Instead, with Lyles due up second in the inning, Weiss elected to let Lyles hit for himself--he struck out--then head back out for the 7th inning, despite being near the 100-pitch threshold that apparently causes massive arm injuries when eclipsed.
After watching the ball get squared up on several occasions the previous inning, Weiss trotted Lyles back out to the mound in what seemed like a move that was doomed to fail. It did. Lyles quickly recorded the first out, but then walked Angel Pagan and gave up a double to Joe Panik. Three batters into the inning, Lyles was done. Weiss went to the mound and called for Matt Belisle to come into the game.
In a move that gave Rockies fans flashbacks to the Jim Tracy days, Weiss had essentially traded an out at the plate for an extra three batters faced from a tired starting pitcher. While there is no certainty that a pinch hitter would have provided anything positive for the Rockies, it seemed clear that what Lyles could contribute on the mound was done.
As was predictable, the bullpen came in and did what they do best, they let the game get out of hand. Belisle, who has had a very up and down season, immediately gave up a double to Buster Posey, scoring two runs and closing the book on Lyles. The game was still in the Rockies favor, but it wouldn't be for long. In the end, the Giants scored seven runs in the frame, erasing the Rockies early lead and never looking back.
It sounds like talk out of both sides of the mouth. Complaining about the manager leaving the starting pitcher in, but then complaining about how bad the bullpen is. It most definitely is complaining out of both sides of the mouth. However, relievers are better when they can come into clean innings. When they walk to the mound with someone else's mess on the base paths, it isn't always easy to settle in. Had Belisle started the inning with no one on base and no one out, the results might have been different. The inning would have been his, instead of trying to get cute with runners on base, trying to minimize the damage, a relief pitcher can pitch his game from the beginning.
Have the injuries hurt the Rockies? Absolutely. In fact, the injuries that the Rockies have sustained would have devastated any team. The problem is, this Rockies team was not only devastated by the injuries, their weaknesses were completely exposed. Their bullpen was build with a ball of yarn and bailing wire. Their lineup was built around two injury prone players and another veteran with a long list of time spent on the disabled list as well.
The injuries might have killed the Rockies season, but there may not have been a more vulnerable team to injuries ruining a season than the Rockies. This may be a small market team, but they act like they don't get a draft pick every season. They act like there is no way that the farm system is expected to produce even a few pitchers who might be able to come up to the big league level and get outs. They act like fans shouldn't expect a position player to come up and be able to at least use a pale to get some of the water out of the boat instead of drilling holes into the side of it.
Injuries can be an excuse when the players coming in are playing sharp baseball with an edge and simply losing. When the guys on the field are playing sloppy and lackadaisical, injuries no longer become an excuse. When Dick Monfort says he doesn't want to bring someone else in from the outside because it might disturb the culture, he exposes the ultimate truth of the Colorado Rockies.
It simply isn't a franchise that will win until they are ready to kick the losing culture to the curb and start getting things done.
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