Eddie Butler did everything that he was supposed to do except go six innings. He was pulled early only because Colorado needed some offense to get back into the game from a two-run deficit. Before we criticize Walt Weiss for putting in Scott Oberg in the sixth inning of a two-run game, let look at the context of the game. The Rockies had only two harmless singles through five innings. The idea was to try to get some runs before the Dodgers go into their vaunted bullpen. Their bullpen leads the league in everything. If the Rockies make a rally, then it makes sense to use your best pitchers to win the game. Unfortunately CarGo popped up and Tulo grounded into double play ending the only threat of the day.
With no off day until the last day of April, Weiss needed to save the bullpen as much as possible for the long run. With Oberg and Christian Bergman anticipated going to Albuquerque with the returns of JDLR and John Axford, it was a good time to use them on a day where the offense ended up with four singles in the final box score. Oberg gave up five runs, four of them on three different no doubters, and Bergman did his usual thing to complete the game.
The Dodgers made a big statement to the National League with their impressive sweep over the Rockies. The Rockies hitters struck out 30 times over the weekend while the Dodgers tied a franchise record for most XBHs in a three-game series. Let’s tip our hats to them; they have all three parts needed to be a championship team – pitching, offense, and fielding. If you slip up, they will take advantage of it every time.
The weekend revealed a few disturbing weaknesses on the club. Carrying only four outfielders is starting to hurt more than anticipated. With Drew Stubbs as the only spare OF who strikes out nearly every time at the plate, that shortens up the bench quite a bit. Daniel Descalso hasn’t done squat and that shortens the bench by another guy. Mike McKenry has not hit anywhere close to a career year he had last year to compensate for his weak defense. There’s Doug Garneau who’s swinging a hot stick in Albuquerque and superior to McKenry defensively. Baby Bull takes up a roster spot like Jason Giambi did without a position that he can play well. Only Rafael Ynoa has performed as expected. Jeff Bridich’s willingness to make the tough changes will be put to the test over the next week or two.
The Rockies have Kyle Parker, Matt McBride, Ben Paulsen, Brandon Barnes, and Doug Garneau in Albuquerque waiting for their phone calls. Don’t forget that there’s John Lannon who’s pitching well, Chad Bettis, Jon Gray and David Hale (very soon) available as starters. Thomas Kahnle and Jairo Diaz may or may not be better options than Scott Oberg and Christian Bergman. Jeff Bridich knows he has the cards in his hands that he can deal to make the bench better. The dominoes may start falling if a trading partner is found for Baby Bull. Descalso may be the only one with a longer leash than everyone else on the bench due to his needless contract.
The Rockies resiliency will be put to the test this week with San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants coming to town this week for a seven-game home stand. Colorado is currently 6-3 on the road and 1-2 at home for a 7-5 overall record. The Rockies need to clean up their walks and bench issues to be more competitive this year.