Within the realm of professional sports, it is somewhat taboo to blame a team’s shortcomings on injuries. Coaches never like to make that excuse, and fans don’t like to accept injuries as the crux of a team’s failures.
Let’s be real. The Rockies stink this year, and injuries are not the main issue. But let’s be even more real. They would have stunk a lot less if the injury bug had not bit the Rockies hard this season.
The bug has now become an epidemic, because unfortunate injury news continues to ravage the Rockies roster. Left handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz, the prize jewel of the Ubaldo trade, is now out for the season, after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Saturday night.
I don’t know about you, but I was hyped to see Pomeranz in a Rockies uniform this season, even if it was for just a few starts. It would have given us a glimpse into the future, and perhaps granted us a glimmer of hope. He shined in his first double A start in the Rockies farm system, giving up only two hits in seven innings. Now, we are forced to “Wait ‘til next year,” which seems to be a developing theme as the season winds down.
It’s never healthy to feel sorry for yourself, but the Rockies have been the victim of many bad “breaks” this season, and the slew of serious injuries continues. Here’s a depressing recap.
The early season cuticle injury to Ubaldo Jimenez seemed harmless at first. But Ubaldo was not himself from the beginning, and seeing Jimenez scuffle at the start, might have been the first indication in O’Dowd’s mind to ponder the prospect of trading him. Ubaldo did right the ship and picked up his performance, but that didn’t appear to affect O’Dowd’s trading train of thought. Ubaldo’s cuticle is now healed, but he is now a member of another team.
The loss of Jorge De La Rosa to Tommy John surgery was the most crippling blow to the Rockies 2011 campaign. When he walked off the mound holding his arm, I remember thinking, “Uh oh. If he is done, we are done.” Perhaps it was a tad cynical at the time, but the Rockies are 36-45 since De La Rosa went down. With Ubaldo struggling out of the gates, De La Rosa was maturing into our legitimate ace. And when an ace goes down, it’s tough for any team to recover. Even with their ridiculous rotations, if the Phillies lost Halladay, or the Giants lost Lincecum, or the Yankees lost Sabathia, their teams would be much worse off.
With De La Rosa out for the season, that led to the promotion of Juan Nicasio. Not many Rockies fans even knew who Nicasio was when the season began, but he had no problems making a name for himself. In his first 13 major league starts, Nicasio posted a respectable 4.14 ERA and went 4-4. Then, on August 6th, 2011, Nicasio’s life changed forever. He was struck by a hot-shot right up the middle, and he ended up sustaining a broken neck. Talk a about terrible break. Nicasio became the first major league baseball player ever to fracture his C-1 vertebrae during a game. De la Rosa will definitely pitch again. Who knows if Nicasio will ever get that opportunity, even though he is already walking, and plans on giving an all-out effort towards a comeback to the mound.
Pomeranz, De la Rosa, and Nicasio are three Rockies pitchers that have been bit by the injury bug, but position players have been infected as well. Charlie Blackmon, a solid young outfielder who was given an opportunity in the big leagues, fell victim to a freak injury. He was merely rounding second base and heading for third, when he heard a pop. That pop was a broken foot, and his promising season fell by the wayside.
And those are just long term injuries the Rockies have had to deal with. Tons of Rockies have found their ways to the disabled list this season, many of them key contributors.
Here is a list of some of the Rockies injury-related DL transactions.
-August 12, 2011 Placed RHP Huston Street on the 15-day DL.
-August 10, 2011 Placed RHP Matt Lindstrom on the 15-day DL.
-August 6, 2011 Placed RHP Juan Nicasio and OF Ryan Spilborghs on the 15-day DL.
-July 26, 2011 Placed 1B Jason Giambi on the 15-day DL.
-July 23, 2011 Placed OF Carlos Gonzalez on the 15-day DL.
-July 15, 2011 Transferred OF Charlie Blackmon to the 60-day DL.
-July 3, 2011 Transferred RHP Matt Daley to the 60-day DL.
-June 17, 2011 Placed C Jose Morales on the 60-day DL.
-June 8, 2011 Transferred LHP Jorge De La Rosa to the 60-day DL
-June 7, 2011 Placed OF Dexter Fowler on the 15-day DL.
-May 7, 2011 Placed RHP Esmil Rogers on the 15-day DL
-May 3, 2011 Placed INF Ty Wigginton on the 15-day DL
-April 14, 2011 Transferred RHP Aaron Cook to the 60-day DL.
OUCH! That’s a lot of disabled Colorado Rockies.
Injuries are inevitable. But when your team suffers this many setbacks, it gives credence to the phrase, adding insult to injury.
-By Zach Cohn