Colorado Rockies: Are We Overreacting to Early-Season Pitching Woes?
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of Overreaction Monday here on Rox Pile. Each week, we’ll voice our views on a topic relating to the Colorado Rockies and you can decide if we’re overreacting or spot on with what we’re saying. Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below or on the Rox Pile Facebook page.
This week, we’re going to tackle the travesty that is the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen early in the 2016 season.
Yes, it’s early in the campaign. Yes, one week does not a season make. However, the Colorado Rockies are already on their way to setting a higher overall ERA than last season when the finished last in Major League Baseball with a 5.04 ERA.
I’ll admit that I bought into the prevailing thoughts of a better bullpen in 2016 during my week at spring training in early March. I heard from so many people that the Colorado Rockies pitching staff would be better this season. The additions of Chad Qualls and Jason Motte, as well as the maturation of Jason Gurka and Christian Bergman, would spell an end to the frustration that was felt so often last season.
Remember the blown saves from John Axford and the way we’d all get a little more nervous when Tommy Kahnle, Brooks Brown or countless other relievers would come into the game last season? That was all in the past I heard this spring … and still hear as folks within the Rockies organization say the pitching will be fine.
I drank the Kool-Aid in spring training. Now, I’m trying desperately to get it out of my system.
Like so many in the Rocky Mountain region, I watched as the San Diego Padres came to town after being held scoreless in 30 consecutive innings to start the season … and then proceeded to score 29 runs on the Rockies over the next 14 innings. People around the country refer to Coors Field as a hitter’s paradise or a place where sputtering offenses rediscover their swings. It’s true, but it’s not completely the ballpark. It’s the pitching.
Heading into Monday’s off day, seven of Colorado’s 12 pitchers (starters and relievers) had an ERA of 10.00 or higher. SEVEN!
Gurka excelled in spring training with a 1-0 record and 1.69 ERA, but has yet to find any success in the regular season. He’s given up 13 hits in 4.2 innings of work. That’s as much as Chad Bettis has given up in two starts that have covered 12.1 innings this year.
Bergman falls into the same category as Gurka, following a strong spring with a couple of disastrous outings that has his ERA at 12.00.
After starting the season with two scoreless outings that covered 2.1 innings, Boone Logan has given up four runs in his last inning of work.
Those are just some examples of the Colorado Rockies’ early season frustration. Of course, the bullpen was dealt a huge blow in spring training when Jairo Diaz was injured and had to have ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction on his right elbow. Someone expected to have a strong season out of the bullpen was suddenly gone.
Believe it or not, Colorado isn’t the only National League West team to be frustrated with pitchers thus far. Arizona picked up Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke in the offseason and we saw what Colorado’s offense did to them in the desert. Johnny Cueto has looked pretty darn human in his first outings as a San Francisco Giant.
Rockies fans, it’s not just us who are frustrated with the pitching. However, when it comes to being frustrated year … after year … after year … after year, I think we take the prize.
As the Rockies head into Monday’s off day, the team ERA sits at 7.98 through the team’s first six games. That’s dead last in MLB by quite a bit, with the Houston Astros sitting at 7.02 … and the only other team above a 7.00 ERA.
Motte, who came over from the Chicago Cubs in the offseason, has yet to throw a pitch for the Rockies this season because of an abdominal strain. Colorado manager Walt Weiss said Motte’s attitude impacted the locker room positively in spring training. Will Motte be able to help the bullpen when he comes back from his injury?
Next: 5 Homers Help Rockies Salvage Game Against San Diego
He’s one of several pitchers on the Colorado sidelines right now, joining Jon Gray as a Rockies hurler who should be back soon. Colorado pitching needs a boost right now or the pressure will fall squarely on the Rockies offense to outslug the competition every night.