The Braves helped the Rockies celebrate their 20th season by coming to town and sweeping the series like it was 1993 again (it took the Rockies 17 games over 2 seasons to finally beat the Braves back in the day). The poor play continued into San Diego where we got our first look of 2012 at Alex White and Christian Friedrich. Here, we discuss pursuing veteran pitching help and what happened in the last week of games.
Should the Rockies try to sign one of the veteran free agent pitchers still available (Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, Brad Penny, Rich Harden)?
Brendan: Yes. Any of them. More age on this roster might not be the best idea, but that is how bad the pitching has been lately. However, they are all probably looking for a chance at a ring and I doubt that Colorado is a serious option even if the price is right. I am a supporter of the young arms the Rockies have collected, but throwing them all to the wolves one after another is not going to help in either the short or long term. A veteran or two to eat some innings (calling Jeremy Guthrie!) takes the pressure off the young arms and prevents us from being subjected to 15 more starts by Guillermo Moscoso.
Kevin: Spending a lot of money on a pitcher is not something that typically fits in with the Rockies “plan.” Oswalt might be able to help, but he has back issues, which have a tendency to linger, and he could require a lot of money. It might be worth giving Brandon Webb a workout to see how he looks. Webb just turned 33 on Wednesday, so he might still have some left in the tank, but Webb has made just one appearance in the last three seasons, so any help from Webb is unlikely. The Rockies clearly have rotation issues, but I am not convinced signing a veteran free agent pitcher is their answer. This problem seems to be more of a system problem…
Ned: Absolutely not. These guys are both overpriced and over the hill. You don’t win in Colorado with old, tired guys. Let me give six specific reasons why the Rockies should not go after any one of these guys: Harris, Hurst, Saberhagen, Swift, Neagle and Hampton. Strong, young arms win in Denver. The Rockies should stick with the development of the young pitchers and the rehabilitation of De La Rosa, even though it is painful in the short run.
What was the biggest problem for the Rockies last week?
Brendan: Inconsistency. Pitching and defense are easy targets, but I was most frustrated by the failure to put together a “complete” game. When the offense put up runs the pitching would blow it. When the pitchers would lock it down, the offense could not do anything. Mix in the base running mistakes and atrocious fielding, and it was just a terrible stretch. To top it all off, ex-Rockie Huston Street was hurt and his belt high gofer-ball was not available to blow the two saves for San Diego.
Kevin: This is a team with lots of problems. The offense often struggles on the road. There is the obvious problem of the starting rotation. However, the defense has been abysmal. The Rockies made seven errors last week, including four in one game. As Logan detailed, CarGo is currently the worst fielding left-fielder in baseball. Tulo had a rough patch, but he seems to be over it. Rosario is a terrible receiver, but he is throwing out a good number of guys. Although I love me some Cuddy, his defense is poor. The team’s terrible defense makes the terrible pitching all that much worse.
Ned: Despite the nice outings of Pomeranz, White and Friedrich, the starting pitching continues to be concerning. But the most troubling issues for me over the past week were the play of Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki. Dex still can’t handle the low and inside pitch, especially from the left side. His average is quickly approaching the Mendoza line. Dex is becoming a two-tool player (speed and glove) with an average arm. Tulo seems to be having head problems. His hitting is way off, and his spectacular defense has become erratic. I am confident Tulo will turn it around, but I can’t express the same confidence in Dex. By the way, maybe Rosario just needs to break in his catching mitt so he can hold onto pitches—the guy still can’t catch cleanly.
Has there been any cause for optimism during the recent tailspin?
Brendan: The first-round three amigos: Pomeranz (2010), White (2009) and Friedrich (2008). Petco Park is an admittedly nice place to make your season debut, but White and Friedrich both pitched very well. Pomeranz also was off to a good start before getting drilled by a line drive. White did a good job keeping the ball down and avoiding the solid contact that plagued him at the end of last season. Friedrich overcame some early bloop hits and defensive miscues to notch 7 Ks in 6 innings en route his first career win. Get used to these guys, because they are the future.
Kevin: Alex White and Christian Friedrich have been reasons for optimism. Bear in mind, however, that they pitched in Petco Park, which is one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. If these two can provide quality innings (I do not mean quality starts, which are not quality), it will be a big boost for this team. Also, Jorge de la Rosa’s rehab is going well. Although his last rehab start wasn’t pretty, the most important things are that he feels good and he reached 94 mph with his fastball. Help might be in the rotation right now, and more help is on the way, especially considering Guillermo Moscoso has been demoted; anyone would be better than Moscoso at this point.
Ned: Baseball fans (except Cubs’ fans) are eternal optimists. The performances of Pomeranz, White and Friedrich this week were very encouraging. Pomeranz seems to be finding the consistency we all have been looking for. White kept the ball down in the zone, and Friedrich showed the ability to strike-out hitters when he really needed to do so. Cargo continued his hot hitting and disciplined approach at the plate which has resulted in a sharp increase in his walks. Cuddyer is the consummate professional at the plate who is turning into an RBI machine—easy to see why DOD paid so much for him.
Have a different take? Let us know in the comments below.
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