Life has gotten in the way of my writing lately. I will be leaving the company I have worked for since 2002 early next month and begin a new job with a new company shortly thereafter. This has led to lots of time spent away from the computer and enjoying the outdoors before I start my new job as I am sure I will be buried for a decent period of time.
There has been a lot of news lately involving the Rockies and I have some thoughts.
Four man rotations
I am all for four man rotations. I am all for starters getting their work in between starts as a reliever in game action. If Jim Tracy wants to go to a four man rotation because he feels one of the starters (Jeremy Guthrie) isn’t good enough to pitch every fifth day, I am OK with that. I actually agree with Tracy. I can’t figure out how come it took him this long to figure it out, but the finally did: Guthrie stinks.
The problem the Rockies have is that if Guthrie isn’t good enough to pitch in the rotation then most of the guys they have starting for them right now are not (yet Drew Pomeranz continues to dazzle in AAA…).
The biggest problem with Tracy’s four man rotation comes in the form of the…
75 pitch count limit for the starters
Nolan Ryan is rolling. When Ryan took over the Rangers he mandated that their starters throw more between games and get in shape physically so they can throw more during games. All that has done is take a rag rotation and turned it into one of the better rotations in baseball. Some of the guys the Rangers have are top pedigree guys, but many of them were no-names that have become solid pitchers because they are asked to throw more, not less.
Babying the starters by limiting their pitch count is flat our demeaning, demoralizing and shameful. Just watch the pitcher’s reaction when they are removed in the fourth inning because they have thrown 72 pitches.
Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver and even more recently C.C. Sabathia must be laughing and crying at the same time. Starters used to refuse to give the ball up and now Tracy is asking the starters to come out of the game before the end of the fourth inning. If you worked in a profession where everyone else was able to complete their job but your boss pulled you out every time when you were only about 75% complete, wouldn’t that bother you? If you were never allowed to get any recognition for your work (a “W” for a starting pitcher) wouldn’t that bother you?
And this doesn’t even factor in the statistics, this is just emotional talk. If a starting pitcher is still judged on his win/loss record (however wrong that may be, but let’s face it, many still judge based on that) then the Rockies starters will rarely qualify for a win (you need to pitch five full innings to qualify). And often a pitcher must go deeper into a game to give his offense a chance to score the runs required for him to get the win.
Quality starts are completely out of the question now. A pitcher must throw at least six innings to get a quality start and even after Jeff Francis was pitching pretty darned well last night he was yanked after five innings of work because he threw 76 pitches.
Tracy is trying a new angle to get his pitchers to be more “efficient” or throw more strikes. How about they just teach the pitchers to throw strikes? Does he think the guys don’t want to throw strikes? I find it hard to believe Alex White is trying to not strike batters out when he is on the mound. I doubt Guthrie was trying to walk the bases loaded. How about Bob Apodaca and team help the guys throw more strikes. How about they do their freaking job?
Tracy thinks his bullpen should take or more responsibility because they have been so good, and they have, but they are relievers for a reason: they aren’t that good. As their workload increases their performance will surely drop. If they were good enough to pitch 100 innings or more a year they would be starting pitchers, not relievers.
Finally, if the other team knows the starter is on a strict pitch count they sure as hell better be looking dead red all night. If this idea works as designed then the Rockies starters will be in the zone all night in the hopes that they last five or six innings before getting the hook – walking batters is a great way to drive up your pitch count and in turn get you pulled earlier in the night. Opposing batters should be looking for pitches on the plate all night and they should be able to tee off.
I feel sorry for the Rockies staff this weekend as guys like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and Mike Napoli will know that the opposing starting pitcher must throw them strikes, because if he does not he might not see the end of the fourth inning. No one wants that pie in the face – being yanked before the fourth inning is complete because Tracy says you can’t handle it. The big boys can throw the ball 100+ times, but you little leaguers can only throw it 75 times.
It is sickening, but not as maddening as…
Dexter Fowler being benched
I wrote about it the other day and it continues to agitate more and more: how can Dexter Fowler ride pine when Michael Cuddyer continues to play? Sit Cuddyer, sit Todd Helton, but Dexter must play. If Tracy wants to get Tyler Colvin more at-bats then he needs to replace Cuddy or Helton. This shouldn’t even be a question the answer is so simple. Here are a series of tweets from me the other night (follow me @TravisLay_BSB).
Huson said Fowler hasnt been good in June. And that is true. In June Dex is hitting .200/.305/.300… BUT…(cont)
Prior to Tracy’s inexplicable benching of Fowler during A’s series Fowler was batting .286/.382/.414. After the benching: .095/.200/.143
It might be a conicidence, but why Tracy benched Fowler for what was effectively 3 full days during A’s series appears to have cooled Dex
All previous numbers were June only. Prior to that benching dating back to May 27th Fowler was hitting .404/.491/.745 in 13 games (57 PA)
Another thanks to Jim Tracy! Thanks for taking a smoking hot Dexter and cooling him off.
And if things weren’t bad enough for the Rockies the team and its fans received the news that…
Tulo is going under the knife and will miss 6-8 weeks
What can be said about this? It is just more bad news. There are two guys on this team who are untouchable; Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. Trading them is ludicrous, wanting them on the bench is moronic, and having Tulo out until probably the end of August just drives the nail into the coffin. So what if the coffin was already shut? This just ensures it cannot be opened.
Tulo will have surgery on his left groin and the groans from Rox fans become louder.