For the most part Colorado Rockies pitching has been solid this season. After all, the team’s struggles of late have resulted from a lack of offense, not bad pitching (last night’s meltdown against the Giants notwithstanding). Even still, conversations about the pitching staff have been about how the Rockies are unhappy with certain pitchers (Jeff Francis, Juan Nicasio) rather than how certain pitchers are unhappy with the Rockies. That’s what made Jon Garlands‘ miniature rant this week pretty interesting.Jon Garland
pitches against the Cubs this week. Image: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports
The ghost of the paired pitching 75-pitch limit of 2012 still lingers, and Garland is not happy about it. He told the Denver Post:
"I don’t want to come out of these games. It’s not my choice. I would like to keep going. It (stinks) going five innings. It almost seems like I am hurting the team more than helping them going five.“I am going to have to find a way to throw six-to-eight pitches an inning. It’s tough when you don’t want to give in to hitters. It’s hard to work around a guy or attack him in a different way. You have to just attack.“I am going in with the mindset that it’s 80 (pitches). I wish I could say (the mindset) is 100…I am almost two years out of surgery, same for De La Rosa. At some point you just have to say, ‘go.’ That’s my personal opinion. But I am not the one in charge. I have to get through the innings with the least amount of pitches I can even if it goes against what I am trying to do sometimes.”"
There’s a key point to be made here. The “man in charge” of these pitch limits is not Walt Weiss. Bill Geivett hasn’t been as loud this season, but it was he and others in the front office who dreamt up these rules for the starting pitchers. Jim Tracy, a veteran manager, resigned because he could not get on board with what was happening. He felt he could not manage the way he wanted even after the Rockies junked the piggyback 4-man rotation. Now Garland, a veteran with a relatively proven track record, feels that he cannot pitch the way he wants to because of the strict limitations.
While Weiss has been able to manage his staff with a significant measure of normalcy, it is still apparent that he does not have the option to use his judgment and leave a starter in the game past 100 pitches. That’s the deal and Garland, a reliable pitcher for the Rockies this season, doesn’t like it.