So here’s a confession: I’m a bit of a Jeff Francis groupie. He’s my favorite Rockies pitcher of all time. I realize what that says about me and yes, I’ll freely admit that I am far more of a sentimentalist than a hardcore baseball fan probably should be. But come on guys, it’s Jeff Francis! Remember 2007, when he won 17 games? I know that was a one-time thing for him and that he has yet to win more than 6 in a season since then. Still. I will never forget his contributions to the only pennant-winning team in Rockies history and his excellent starts in the NLDS and the NLCS. Also, I think part of my nostalgia stems from the fact that he was out all of 2009 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and then I got to see him pitch at Citi Field in August 2010. It was actually my first time seeing him in person, and he went 6 innings and allowed only 2 runs. He got the no-decision when the Rockies won on the strength of Melvin Mora‘s grand slam. I was a very very happy girl after that game. It only made me love Francis more.
But let’s look at this with a bit of a harder eye. Will Francis really help the Rockies in 2012? In truth, not really. He’s going to be similar to what we’ve seen from Jeremy Guthrie, going 6 or 7 innings in a game but routinely allowing 4 runs or more per outing. He’s not young enough to be someone we can trust with our future, the way Alex White and Juan Nicasio are. So what’s the point? Why Francis instead of Jamie Moyer or Drew Pomeranz? Francis’s middle-of-the-roadness is just what we need from him. If we could get a better pitcher, we would, but neither Moyer nor Pomeranz are that pitcher. Moyer was fine, but not good enough to keep investing in when he’s as old as he is. And Pomeranz is still working on mechanics. Rushing him doesn’t make any sense when he will be very very good as soon as he’s ready. At the very least, Francis has plenty of Coors Field experience, so he’s much less of an unknown than basically anybody we started out the season with.
Now on to the FANTASTIC news: the roster move that made room for Francis! Esmil Rogers has been designated for assignment, and his days with the Rockies are almost certainly over. I’m never happy when we have to let somebody go, or when a gamble on a guy like Rogers fails, but after seeing him last night, all I could hope was that it was his final outing for the Rockies. If I never see him in a Colorado uniform again, it will be too soon. Farewell Esmil. I hope you can go be awesome for some team the Rockies never have to face (a la Jason Hammel).
And now on to the lineups … today features a handful of benchings, and it does seem that Saturday is the new Sunday. I appreciate that Jim Tracy is no longer in a box where guys can only rest in the final game of a series, but does he understand that resting them all in the middle game is just as bad? And should we really be giving Francis anything other than the A team for this start? Angels lineup remains mostly the same.
First pitch is 2:10 MDT from Coors Field.