Why the Rockies Won’t Make the Playoffs

Hello, I am Ignorant_Undertaker_Christopher, a new “poster” on the great roxwalkoff.com site

I am really Doctor_Christopher’s alter-ego, the one who sees things realistically. He does not tell me his passwords but , duh, I know them all, so I felt it was time to post. It is time for honesty and to put away the Purple Tinted glasses, even with the win against the Mets to start May.   And I will tell you that this Colorado Rockies, while having some good players, has no chance at making the playoffs. No purple tinted glasses anywhere in my life.  Why is this season already doomed?

1)      The injuries among starter are beginning to grow. Think back to 2011 when the Rockies were the fashionable pick for the NL West champs and were miserable largely due to injuries to starters. And 2012, yea it was warm and such, but not enough starting pitching. And last year, as big as the broken rib to Tulo was and the thumb later with CarGo, it was the DL stints with Chacin and Chatwood that took a big toll. Before May 1 the Rox have already lost Anderson at least til near the All-Star break (depending on how long it takes to heal and rehab starts), Chatwood possibly for the year, and Chacin has not made a start. They have one guy at AAA who might be able to add value – Tyler Matzek, but none of the guys at Tulsa is ready to be a major league pitcher so far, and even if they are called up, do we expect another 2007 where prospects called up make the difference?

2)      They are only playing this well because of career years so far. Really, do we think that Jordan Lyles, a 5ERA pitcher, is your staff ace so far. How long is that going to last? Yea, it’s a better team he is playing for with a better defense and better offense, but he is pitching far above his career and talent. Juan Nicasio did get through 7 against the Mets, but rarely can  throw three pitches for strikes any night, which means he is more the pitcher against the Phillies or Dodgers than against the Mets or DBacks. Franklin Morales has looked great but at 28 do we think he is going to be the guy some thought he was in 2007. The Red Sox traded him AND Chris Martin for Johnny Herrera – do you think the Sox would so under-value this guy to trade him and another arm for a back-up infielder. Heck add Brandon Barnes and DJ to the list. They are not having super years but above history. Players return to their norm…isn’t it just a matter of time?  And Justin Morneau hitting like 2007, hitting lefties like crazy. You really don’t think this is going to last, do you?

3)      CarGo is fighting injuries even as he is trying to get un-stuck. The nagging injuries take away his power and speed, which makes him, just okay. While Tulo has been great and healthy (do you hold your breath every AB or play in the field), it remains a fear. Cuddy is already on the DL with a hamstring – a sign of age probably. They also have a 30+ 1B who has been key to the success this year. Its early so watch and see how his legs hold up – the Pirates got zip in terms of power when they traded for him in August. This team has little in the way of positional player prospects ready to contribute – Kyle Parker, maybe Ryan Wheeler and possibly if they add him back to the 40, Tim Wheeler. But that is it. So better not get a lot of injures to positional players…but too many injury prone players to say it won’t happen.

4)      The bullpen, while good on paper and good some nights, is over-used (too many short outings from the pitching staff in part because of injuries putting lesser arms who cannot go three times through the rotation). It seems like on any game they get 3 good outings from a reliever but…then one player blows it. They do have some help at AAA if Wilton Lopez can continue to fix his issues and if Nick Masset can continue to get healthy and make contributions, well, that is good. But their pen is throwing way too many issues way too often with far too few ready to step-up. Eventually Tommy Kahnle is going to get wild like he had every year before this. Chris Martin has been great since coming up but really, do you think the Sox gave away a great arm for Johnny Herrera. Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers have been very shaky for the most part – why is something we can debate about but their results are speaking loud. Basically its been Boone Logan, Adam Ontovino and Hawkins, who has few 1-2-3 9th innings.

5)      But the real reason the Rox wont make the playoffs is…they cannot win close games. There is a belief that some teams are good late game winners (like the Giants or the Orioles a few years back). But over-time, even with good pinch-hitters or a good pen, find that they return to the mean. Even teams with great pens find that whereas when their relievers have a bad game and it was in a blow-out one year, it happens in the key situations the next. Hitters get empty ABs in the 9th instead of valuable ones. Look at the Cardinals last year, who nearly set a record for BA with runners in scoring position and with 2 –outs. Now they are hitting like the Marlins.

 

So far this team has had their pen lose 4 big games – Miami, game 4, Phillies 3rd game, San Francisco, Wednesday day game, and now the Arizona game (and nearly did it the night before in Arizona). They have yet to steal one against a pen – steal it and win. So that is 0-4 (Doctor_Christopher gives them one for the San Diego game to tie that series, but they did it against Kennedy, who yes had a no-hitter going, but was still the starter).  It may simply be that the cards are not playing right for the Rockies in 2014, which means in 2015 they will probably become a great 1 run team and have a slew of comebacks, but not this year, not based on early returns. Yes they are 6-6 in 1 run games overall, but giving up those 4 games, for a team that was going to have play well to win 85-88 games (probably the bare minimum this year to make the 2nd WC spot given how deep the National League is this year). This team cannot come-back against good teams, even with their tenacious hard work and willingness to not let a bad loss create a losing streak. They just are not going to win enough games.

 

It will still be a fun season, with lots to cheer, but sadly, on May 1, the handwriting is on the wall. Too many injuries, relying too much on career years, too burned a pen, and the inability to come back against team, especially with good pen work this year against theme.Baseball is a great game and baseball seasons are enjoyable as long as you are not losing 100 games. So even knowing this team won’t make the playoffs should not change how much we enjoy the Rockies games.

 

Okay, the real Doctor_Christopher will want his optimism back but…remember what you read here, you are going to see a lot of what is said here playing out. Don’t worry about changing October travel plans. Enjoy rotisserie baseball and all the great players right now in the league (best group since the 1950s maybe).  And hey, if the Rox win 83 games it makes them winners…just not a playoff team. No way and no how!

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GARY
GARY
6 years ago

Wow,wish you’d saved this till July 4th.I just signed up for the ROX on dish yesterday-guess I’ll try to get my money back and stock up on vodka.

egossage
egossage
6 years ago

I don’t like Dr. C’s alter-ego

Julie G
Julie G
6 years ago

We’ve been dealing with this scenario since, at least 2009, will it stick? I am a bit more optimistic than the Dark Doctor is as hope is eternal. The main difference I have seen lately is because there are lessened expectations from some of our players that they are proving to be a very resilient bunch. I, for one will look back in July and see if the Dark Doctor was right, which according to previous years he should be… Read more »

roxnsox
roxnsox
6 years ago

The I_U stated my reserve-judgment, if not cynical, views, and now I am glad he has been banished. Change your passwords, Doc 😉 I like the purple tint better and will ride with that as long as it floats.

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
6 years ago

If the team can continue to keep the bullpen fresh, they can only get better as the season goes on. Chatwood should be pitching again around the ASB and Brett Anderson will be like a trade deadline acquisition in late July to bolster the rotation. Imagine this healthy rotation after the trade deadline: JDLR, Chacin, Chatwood, Anderson, Lyles. That doesn’t even include Nicasio and Frankie Mo. This rotation combined with a healthy combo of Tulo and CarGo equals contenders. If… Read more »

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