After a respectable first few weeks to the season, the Rockies have won just a single game in the month of May. The win, a 5-4 victory Thursday night thanks to a Carlos Gonzalez three-run shot in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers, ended an 11-game losing streak. But regardless, the wheels are falling off the wagon at an alarmingly fast rate.
The Rockies have dug themselves into a hole in the first month and a half of play that I doubt they can reemerge from.
I’ve noticed quite a bit of shock from the Rockies fan base. I guess that’s natural—fans being upset and whatnot. But given Colorado’s horrible 2014 campaign and a lack of offseason acquisitions, if you are one of those disappointed fans, what did you expect to happen?
I think any hopes of the Rockies being serious contenders in the NL West—which I’d argue is going to prove to be the best division in baseball this year—are fairytale dreams. At the end of the day, Colorado is going to continue to be outperformed.
Pitching is killing the Rockies. The starters aren’t going deep enough into games and generally speaking are not pitching well at all.
Starting pitcher Tyler Matzek, a young gun who was expected to be a big part of the Rockies’ 2015 rotation, was demoted to AAA Albuquerque last week after some shaky starts. Colorado’s biggest free agent signee off the offseason, pitcher Kyle Kendrick, has been awful this year. He has a 7.65 ERA so far and his WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) is at an alarming 1.58.
There really isn’t a bright spot in the Rockies’ starting pitching rotation. The club’s “ace,” Jorge de la Rosa, has not been effective since coming off the disabled list. Eddie Butler and Jordan Lyles are also beginning to struggle. This is through less than two months of baseball. Things aren’t going to get better.
But perhaps most alarming is that there is no contingency plan for Colorado. There is no one in the minor leagues ready to come up. At the end of spring training, when pitcher Jon Gray didn’t make the team and was optioned to AAA Albuquerque, I thought he would be the guy to get called up if things got bad.
Well, things are getting bad, but don’t expect to see Gray anytime soon. He’s struggled immensely for the Albuquerque Isotopes. So far he has a 1-3 record with an 8.16 ERA. In 28.2 innings pitched he’s given up 26 earned runs, and opposing teams are hitting .338 off of him.
The problems at hand don’t have immediate solutions. And even if the Rockies make a move before the trade deadline to get some outside help, which I doubt they’ll do, it might not matter at all. Right now I just don’t see the Rockies catching anyone in the standings.
But again, what did you expect was going to happen?
I think after the movie Moneyball, more and more people are clinging to the notion that spending a lot of money in the offseason on big market free agents isn’t the only way to win.
That certainly has some truth to it. Look at teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. They have a few big ticket players, but they don’t spend loads of money in the offseason and for the most part their rosters are built, not bought. The success the two respective teams have had goes without saying.
But the Pirates and Royals did something in the offseason. They made moves, nothing too flashy or expensive, to address their flaws. In doing so, they strengthened themselves to a point where they could be competitive in their divisions.
After a terrible 2014 season, the Rox didn’t do enough to strengthen the pitching that was among the worst in the Majors. Instead, they rolled the dice and entrusted unproven talent to take charge of the pitching staff, and it simply is not working.
And Colorado has no excuse. It sat back and watched every team in the NL West make moves and become better this past offseason.
What I’m saying here is the Rockies are failing because their game plan coming into the season had (and still has) way too many “ifs.” And for all those “ifs” that escalated into serious problems, Colorado has no solution.
It pains me to be so negative, but Rockies fans, get used to disappointment. It’s going to be a long season.
Contact CU Independent Rockies Beat Writer Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo