The old adage says there are 162 games. Everybody wins 54. Everybody loses 54. It’s what you do in the other 54 that matters. Ed the Ump made a revolting observation the other night about the other 54 when you consider the Rockies. The home team is 40-68 after 108 games, tripping along at a vigorous .370 clip, which projects to a 60-102 finish. Let’s see… 60-54 = 6; 102-54 = 48. Colorado is on pace to go 6-48 in the other 54. 1 in 8. There’s your 108 game assessment.
Coming out of Arizona in April, the starting pitching presented the biggest question for the Rockies. It remains so. Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio and Drew Pomeranz were supposed to lead a rotation filled-out by one of the dozens of no. 5 starter-quality arms BIB Dan O’Dowd assembled over the winter. That guy turned-out to be 49 year-old Jamie Moyer. That should have been a clue right there. Then Guthrie failed, Chacin went-down, Nicasio went-down, Pomeranz needed delivery repair, and Father Time caught-up with Moyer. Leaving the dozen no. 5s to carry the slack. They didn’t.
There’s always next year, and visions of a rotation featuring Jorge De La Rosa, Pomeranz, Chacin, Nicasio and Jeff Francis are certainly inspiring. Mix-in a couple of no. 2-3 types to push that group and maybe Earth won’t be such a cruel, unrelenting planet.
Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, and Josh Roenicke form the core of what has been a pretty decent Colorado bullpen. Adam Ottavino and Carlos Torres promise to be pretty steady complements. And with the gang of left-over starters and other prospects to fill in the gaps, it seems like then ‘pen’s in reasonable shape.
Defense has been a significant shortcoming for the Rockies in 2012. One thing you can say about playing at altitude and at Coors Field is the amount of “randomness” increases, that is there is a greater degree of “bad juju” that can occur. Consequently you’ve got to have the tightest practical defense to succeed. With the emergence of Josh Rutledge, Colorado is looking very strong “up the middle.” With Rutledge at second, Troy Tulowitzski returning to short, and the “three center-fielder” outfield of Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, and Tyler Colvin, the Rockies have the makings of something special. And you’ve got your most professional player, Michael Cuddyer, and your hardest working player, Eric Young Jr backing things-up.
The fatal flaw in the mix presently is Wilin Rosario at catcher. It’s surely subject for debate, but my belief is the guy simply can’t play the position. He’s mis-cast. No team pretending to contend can be sincere with that kind of defense at catcher. But as we all know, the Baby Bull has a serious bat. I like Gary’s idea of moving him to first-base, and I think it would be great to bring back Yorvit Torrealba, a proven WINNER, to pair with Ramon Hernandez in a true 50-50 veteran catching tandem. Pitcher-confidence would benefit, and with Rosario and Jordan Pacheco available, the MFL would have treasured third catcher options.
That leaves first and third base defensively. Todd Helton’s Hall of Fame defense at first will be missed (presuming his days as a starter are over), but Cuddyer is an option, this Matt McBride apparently can hit, then there are Andrew Brown, Charlie Blackmon, and Tim Wheeler at Colorado Springs. We all love the performance Pacheco has turned-in at the plate this season, but his offense is one-dimensional and defense remains suspect. Nolan Arenado was supposed to be Josh Rutledge and waits for his chance at Tulsa. And there is Chris Nelson and five or six other middle infield types the BIB has been stockpiling, perhaps hoping one of them will turn out to be a starting pitcher. Or, perish the thought, you could make a bold trade or even splash some cash around at a free-agent or two. Gotta make all those Cardinal fans that showed up last week pay for something.
From the offensive standpoint, even at catcher, none of the players discussed are Mendoza-line types. The Rockies should have plenty of pop. “You know they’re going to hit.”
Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain Death March will trudge on, even as we contemplate the foregoing and ask how in the hell is it these guys are going to lose 102 games?