Who’ll stop the rain?

The meteorological rain let up enough for the Colorado Rockies to play a doubleheader, but the metaphorical rain continues to fall, and is getting more intense daily. With the team already on a losing streak, the Arizona Diamondbacks swept today’s twin-bill – sending the Rockies straight to the bottom of the NL West where they will very likely stay during 2015.

A brief game recap is in order before commentary.

All you need to know about game 1, a 13-7 loss, is four things.
1) Tyler Matzek gave up 6 walks in 2+ innings, and literally could not hit the broadside of a barn. He released one pitch that unintentionally sailed behind Paul Goldschmidt by three feet.
2) Over the next seven innings, the Rox used six, count’ em six, pitchers on a game that was far out of control.
3) In seven innings, the Rox did very little with Josh Collmenter, again unable to put together hits. Three HRs by Morneau, Hundley (both solo), and Stubbs were spread far enough apart to not amount to a serious threat.
4) They scored 13 runs on 19 hits, but more astoundingly the Dbacks were 10-for-22 with RISP – yes, that is an incredible number of scoring opportunities, 22. It could have been worse, Goldschmidt took the golden sombrero, and the Rox turned 4 double plays.

Game 2 was at least competitive, but still a 5-1 Rockies loss. Jordan Lyles came out tossing, really only running into trouble in a 3 run fifth where David Peralta drove in Tuffy Gosewisch and Cliff Pennington who had each singled. Overall, he gave up only 1 walk and a sole HR to Goldschmidt. Not horrible, and a badly needed seven innings. If DLR is our #1, Lyles is our #2.

The letdown was on offense. After a wobbly start where it looked like his pitch count might explode, newcomer Robbie Ray settled down and got more efficient with his pitches. He seemed to gain confidence in the 2nd when Walt Weiss got into a friendly discussion with home plate ump Bill Miller about his strike zone, prompting Miller to bark “don’t tell me what the pitch was”. Walt did, and more, and was tossed. The Rox put only 5 hits on Ray, and none on 3 innings of Chafin and Reed in relief. The only guy to draw a walk was Drew Stubbs.

Granted, the Rox were out of sorts. Two days of rain. A weird start time, trying to get both games in before more rain. I have to wonder what Matzek’s pre-game routine looked like, his effort resembled more of a spring training outing than a competitive game in early May. Tulo looks like he’s still trying, I’m not as sure about CarGo who is doing nothing at the plate. The defense clearly fell asleep behind Matzek and all those walks, they were much sharper behind Lyles.

But, I think there is something else going on. It looks like AAA, and I don’t mean the level of play. I mean how games are being managed – this looks like a full-scale player evaluation, and game outcomes are almost irrelevant. Weiss is presiding over a mess, with only 2 decent starters (DLR and Lyles), a pile of tired and breaking arms in the pen, two underperforming superstars, no bench, a rising 3B star who can’t carry a team, and a descent but offensively unremarkable supporting cast. (Dickerson <> Helton.)

The damage from the O’Dowd Years, and the lack of a strategy from Bridich, is now evident. There is nothing in the farm system. The offseason of Kendrick, Hundley, and Descalso is proving to be regression – Hundley is at least holding his own and not costing games with passed balls, but not adding wins like Rosario occasionally did. This supposed wave of starting pitching that is going to magically show up from the system is still very, very far offshore.

Bridich could not possibly fix this in one offseason, or even in one full season. The Angels underwent a similar farm disaster, and it has taken 5 years to recover where there is now help at AAA. Milwaukee has declared a bust, fired Roenicke (who wasn’t the problem), and hung out a for sale sign. Many say the Rox should do the same.

The Rox only have Tulo and DLR to trade for pieces. Nobody is taking CarGo, or Kendrick. Axford, Blackmon, and Hundley might have some value at the deadline. Arenado, LeMahieu, Dickerson, and Lyles likely aren’t going anywhere soon. It’s going to make a short rebuild very difficult. More likely, it will take minor league scouting, better drafts, and a Tulo-for-many-prospects deal, and then a wait for development.

There are very few Troy Tulowitzkis, or Mike Trouts, or Bryce Harpers out there. They don’t come along often, and they don’t solve all your problems. It’s a team sport, where a collection of 25 guys gets it done. See Astros, Cardinals, Orioles, and Royals. Since the original Bob Gebhardt wave of players, and a brief two months in 2007, the Rockies haven’t put pieces together into a competitive team. It’s too early to say what Bridich will do, long term. He has to do something.

And I wonder, still I wonder, …

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Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Great write up, Donny D. I think you’re right — half the time it looks like Walt is still in spring training, trying things out (hey, can Descalso handle SS? Can Ynoa fill in in the OF? Let’s get a look at this Oberg kid) rather than shifting to “these games actually count” mode. Interesting point on the Gebhard vs. O’Dowd years. But I’ll give O’Dowd credit for a few players, and for one trend that looked really promising: Latin… Read more »

Ed Scott
Ed Scott
5 years ago

I don’t understand the fascination with trading Tulo. What team will risk giving up top prospects for a guy who has proven he can’t stay healthy.! And, if they aren’t top prospects (in particular pitching), they why trade him in the first place!

RocketMan
RocketMan
5 years ago
Reply to  Ed Scott

This is a fair point. I’d guess Tulo in his current state is not valued around the league at anything close to his current contract. The injury history, the fall-off in production offensively, the lack of clutch time performance and the legacy of being a loser all chip away the value in the eyes of those who don’t office at a Blake Street address. Therefore our expectations of what we could get in return are likely excruciatingly overblown. We’d probably… Read more »

sabrchip
sabrchip
5 years ago
Reply to  RocketMan

…and Tulo has 3 errors in 23 games. Last year he had 4 in 88. His F% is 13 points lower than his career #s. If GMs look at his aging, production and health history, why would anyone want him?

I say if he has 8 errors by All Star game, he should start giving back Gold Gloves

Ed Scott
Ed Scott
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

Are you sure the Mets would part with Syndergaard? Are you sure Cuddy would lobby for and not against? I’m sure there was more than one reason Cuddy did not re-sign with the Rockies. Some people posit that Tulo is not good in the clubhouse. (I don’t profess to know one way or the other)

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

Matz is a post-TJ surgery pitcher. Hard thrower. Excellent talent. But………..also perfectly fits the emerging statistical profile of TJ pitchers who get re-injured 600-900 IP after initial TJ. Buyer beware…….unless the receiving team sees him as a RP.

Keep a close eye on the Mets once Travis D’Arnaud nears return from injury. That will give them some flexibility with Kevin Plawecki.

Gary
Gary
5 years ago

Can’t take more pain-pray for rain!

Pooter
Pooter
5 years ago

Are there any leaders on this team? If so, they better step up now before this hole becomes too deep.

sabrchip
sabrchip
5 years ago
Reply to  Pooter

WW should be identifying the leaders. Rox need a manager who turns the post game spread upside down.

JulieG
JulieG
5 years ago

One thing I noticed in that awful double header which, although the weather was poor was that not many people showed up to watch. The one thing that might cause things to turn around is that not enough fans show up. Maybe it is the weather and maybe it is the team that they are supporting?

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  JulieG

Yep – long winded, logic driven presentations (such as mine) presented to Monfort in any format will never make his radar, but declining cash receipts from “the Rooftop” will.

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

Interesting. It’s my understanding that the Halos are still on the hook for a large part of Josh Hamilton’s salary……but not all of it. So they did free up some cash in that deal. We think of Cargo as injury prone – but compared to Hamilton he’s a model of health, and of course doesn’t come with the off-the-field baggage (in fact – he’s had exemplary off-the-field behavior). So I can see this gaining some traction. Thanks for the info… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

A see a Cargo deal being crafted something like this: Rox receive a really solid, high level pitching prospect. Andrew Heaney is a good example. Receiving team gets Cargo. If Cargo get 400 AB’s, receiving team pays 100% of Cargo’s salary for that year. If Cargo AB’s are between 300-400, Rockies are hook for 25% of Cargo’s salary for that year. If Cargo receives less than 300 ABs, Rockies are on hook for 50% of Cargo’s salary for that year.… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Sorry…..receiving team “isn’t” taking all the risk.

RocketMan
RocketMan
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

Cargos problems at the plate( big swings at pitches way out of the zone) have lasted through several managers and a passel of hitting coaches. Everyone in the league understands except seemingly Cargo. I wonder IF it’s fixable.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Tyler “Nuke LaLoosh” Matzek sent to ‘burque and a Catcher called up. Unfortunately it’s not Crash Davis.

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Didn’t see that one coming. Of course, we already have not one, but two Crash Davises on the roster …

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Dude – you’re insulting Crash. He set the minor league HR record for Catchers and scored Annie Savoy.

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Just checking in on tonight’s (Friday) rain-soaked attempt to play ball — obviously fate has determined that Brett Anderson must shut us down, but more troubling is the inability of Butler to find the strike zone. 4 walks in 5 innings, 47 strikes, 43 balls total. He (unlike Matzek) was always a low-BB guy in the minors. Getting squeezed by MLB umps? That can’t explain all of it. What’s up with Rockies pitchers???

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

With all the rain and bleak Rockies news, here’s something that might brighten your day (from some of my Hommies in Asheville), Wes Rogers has 21 SB in 28 games for the mighty Tourists. Here’s a bit more info on Rogers (a really good athlete from South Cackalacy who blew up in last year’s JUCO World Series out in GJ);

http://www.nbc11news.com/sports/headlines/JUCO-World-Series-SMC-sophomore-Wes-Rogers-drafted-by-Colorado-Rockies-262189071.html?device=tablet&c=y

Julian
Julian
5 years ago

Wes Rogers was also mentioned in today’s Denver Post.

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Nick Groke in his game wrap at the Post today does his best to rub it in, pointing out Brett Anderson’s effective season so far, making note of his 4 walks vs. 15 strikeouts, and quoting Bridich saying that Rox management “wasn’t losing any sleep” about letting Anderson go. Ouch. Now we can debate all weekend whether it was wise to let Anderson go. There’s a good argument both ways. What I like to focus on is a larger issue,… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Ag – I agree with you here. Arguing the merits of resigning Brett Anderson vs. allowing him to walk are similar to the arguments about Walt Weiss’s game management skills (or lack thereof). They’re nice, valid arguments. But it’s like arguing about who gets access to the bathroom on the Titanic first as it sinks. It doesn’t freakin matter! We have a huge “global, fundamental” problem. The Rockies are team constructed without a foundation. Changing the paint color (or re-signing… Read more »

RocketMan
RocketMan
5 years ago

The funadmental problem has almost always been not enough of the players chosen by the organization–whether as draft choices or free agency or picking up off the wire–have been good enough to play the game at a consistently competitive level. Blowing up the team simply starts the futility clock over. How many of the draft choices have ever really blossomed into high quality players? Why haven’t the Rockies been able to develop competitive players on a consistent basis (exceptions being… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

This is still a club haunted by the Hampton-Neagle debacle. But you know what? Those mega-signings happened in 2001. Half a dozen years later, with as much of those salaries dumped as possible (or clawed back when Neagle got busted with a hooker!), the Rox are in the World Series. Signing Hampton in particular was a terrible mistake, but by 2003 O’Dowd, Monfort & Co. were in full rebuild mode, fielding some awful teams while talent developed and was traded… Read more »

Julian
Julian
5 years ago

I agree with RocketMan that the real problem is that way too few of our first round draft picks have been productive. And the fate of this team will be largely based on whether our first round draft picks are productive. If Gray, Butler, Anderson, Matzek, Bettis, Parker, Dahl and Storey, among other high draft picks, can get it together this year, we could still turn out to be a pretty good team before the long season is over. If… Read more »

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