As the Colorado Rockies look to earn a series win and their 20th victory of the year in a touted rubber match game this afternoon at Coors Field, a lot of questions have started to bubble to the surface about the 2013 Rockies. Exactly how durable is Troy Tulowitzki? When will Juan Nicasio actually lose a game? Can Carlos Gonzalez stop swinging at every single pitch? Is it even possible for Walt Weiss to raise his voice? Walt, buddy… these umps are no longer your son’s math teacher! These guys get paid to blow calls like that 9th inning game-winner for the Yanks last night… at least kick some dirt on his shoes!!
A question that has particular bearing on today’s game though is this: Where the heck is Roy Oswalt??? As Rockies fans break out their rain gear to watch the almighty C.C. Sabathia take the mound for the visiting Yankees they will also get the privilege, nay I say honor, of watching Jeff Francis take the hill for the Rockies. I can hear the excitement building already!! A true ace and former Cy Young award winner, with a World Series ring, taking on the formidable Canadian.
Ok I can’t play this game any longer. The only reason I can make up as to why Tyler Chatwood was demoted and Jeff Francis lived to see another day is that… crap. I can’t even come up with a reason. In Francis’ last 3 outings he has racked up 3 losses while throwing no more than 86 pitches and not getting past the 5th inning. On an upside Francis has deflated his ERA from 8.00+ to 7.27. Yay. Looking at some advanced metrics is when the dud really hits home. Jeff has posted a FIP of 5.25 (16th worst among MLB starters with >20 IP) so far and a WAR of 0. Yes fans, that means the Rockies could get just about any average major league player and replace Francis and be no worse off then they are.
Oh hey everybody, by the way, there is a very good pitcher who the entire League would consider above average that is getting the rust knocked off right now as a new member of the Rockies organization. His name is Roy Oswalt. Unfortunately Roy appears to have signed a contract with the Rox and then fallen off the face of the earth. Seriously if you try to Google search for Mr. Oswalt the only relevant articles are a week old and talk about him being sent to extended spring training. I was able to confirm he is indeed in extended spring training, but could not manage to dig up any stats. The good news is that (according to the Denver Post) Oswalt had been throwing “intense” bullpen sessions at home in Mississippi before signing. The plan then remains that Oswalt make a couple of starts in the extended spring training setting, move up to either AAA Colorado Springs or AA Tulsa for a start, and finally join the Rockies in late May.
As fans continue to watch the Rockies starting pitchers tread water, the pressure to bring up Oswalt should increase. Having an experienced and effective veteran arm in the rotation should do wonders for this club who ranks (as of 5/8) 2nd in runs per game, 2nd in batting average, and 3rd in home runs. They can definitely score the runs, they just need the pitching to be reliable. So as you watch the game today with one eye fearfully closed, don’t forget that help is just around the corner!