Continuity breeds success in the game of baseball.
The less roster turnover, the better, and the less lineup changes, the better, because it means the general manager and manager are both happy with their current product on the field.
If a manager has to continually jostle his starters around, it means he is constantly searching for that perfect lineup, where hitting becomes contagious and players feed off of one another.
Well, you might as well call Jim Tracy Coach Jostle, because he continues to experiment with several different combinations of Colorado Rockies as the season wears on. There has been minimal amounts of continuity in both the Rockies roster and their lineups, and it is a large reason the team continues to sputter.
Just take a look at the Rockies opening day roster:
Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, Jhoulys Chacin, Jason Hammel, Ubaldo Jimenez,Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino,Esmil Rogers,Huston Street, Jorge De La Rosa, Franklin Morales, Matt Reynolds
Chris Iannetta, Jose Morales, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Jonathan Herrera, Jose Lopez, Ian Stewart, Troy Tulowitzki, Ty Wigginton, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs
Now take a look at their current roster:
Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers, Jhoulys Chacin, Aaron Cook, Jason Hammel, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Lindstrom, Clayton Mortensen, Juan Nicasio, Matt Reynolds, Huston Street
Chris Iannetta, Jose Morales, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, Troy Tulowitzki, Ty Wigginton, Eric Young, Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs
(New players in italics)
From a pitching standpoint, the Rockies already have four new faces taking the mound, in Brothers, Nicasio, Mortensen, and Cook. They lost De La Rosa to a season ending injury, Paulino and Morales both pitched themselves out of town, and Esmil Rogers lost his spot to some of the Rockies emerging young talent (Nicasio, Brothers, Mortensen), and a grizzled old veteran (Cook.)
As far as the position players are concerned, the Rockies have made three adjustments. Jose Lopez was a multi-million dollar bust, Ian Stewart could not find his stroke, and Fowler is currently nursing an injury. Nelson, Blackmon, and Young Jr. have not only been promoted to the show, but have been injected into the lineup, and depended on for production.
When you add it all up, that’s seven different Colorado Rockies on the active roster, just two and a half months into the season. Almost a third of the team has changed. The Rockies nucleus remains, in Tulo, Cargo, and Helton, but the roster turnover of the supplementary Rockies players is glaring.
Juxtapose the Rockies opening day lineup with their starters last Saturday.
Lineup on opening day – Fowler, Smith, Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, Helton, Wigginton, Lopez, Iannetta, Jimenez.
Lineup on June 11th – Gonzalez, Young, Giambi, Tulowitzki, Wigginton, Nelson, Blackmon, Iannetta, Hammel.
The only constants are Tulo hitting clean-up, and Iannetta hitting 8th. That’s it.
Because of both injuries and lack of production, Tracy has been forced to constantly tinker with his lineup card. Cargo has hit 3rd, 5th, and now hits lead-off. Tracy has experimented with four different second baseman (Herrera, Young, Nelson, Lopez), and an immeasurable amount of different outfield alignments. He has been forced to use almost ten different starting pitchers.
If the Rockies are going to continue to believe they are contenders, they are going to have find some continuity first.
-By Zach Cohn
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