Picture a game show setting and some cheesy music playing. Picture a crowd clapping wildly off-camera as the announcer prepares to speak. Suddenly, in a booming voice, he says, “Welcome to America’s most maddening game show … Rate the Colorado Rockies Bullpen!”
The crowd claps and the cheesy music keeps playing. It’s a beautiful sight. From behind the curtain, a well-dressed man appears. Oh my goodness, it’s famous television personality Skip Skippendale. He smiles and says, “That’s right, it’s time to…” And before he can finish the sentence, the crowd says in unison, “Rate the Rockies Bullpen!”
Skip: Well, folks, we’ve got a special show for you today. We’re going to rate the Rockies bullpen after another gut-wrenching loss in Milwaukee. Today’s 7-1 loss sealed a sweep for the Brewers and sends the Rockies to our nation’s capital searching for answers.
Skip: Hey now, I don’t make the news. I just report it. So let’s play Rate the Rockies Bullpen! Who’s our first candidate?
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Announcer: That would be Chad Qualls!
The crowd reacts in horror.
Skip: Chad Qualls, the reliever who gave up three runs and only got two outs in Wednesday’s loss? Oh Mr. Announcer, you’ve started us off with a tough one.
Announcer: And that’s not all! He has a 6.31 ERA for the season.
Skip: OK, audience, go ahead and make your votes now. Remember, you’re voting on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning you have no confidence in him whatsoever and 10 meaning he’s the next coming of Mariano Rivera.
Instrumental music plays as people begin to use the keypads at their chairs to vote. A buzzer sounds and voting ends.
Skip: OK, let’s see what we have.
Drum roll and curtain pulls back to reveal a 3.
Skip: Oh my goodness. That’s a tough number. Let’s ask our audience why they voted so low. Trey from Colorado Springs, why do you think that number is so low?
Trey the Audience Member: Well, he has a 22.50 ERA in August and has been pretty unreliable. He’s given up at least one hit in two of his last three outings and six of his last eight. He just hasn’t brought that veteran leadership I was hoping he’d bring. I’d only have him out there if we were up by five runs or down by five runs.
Skip: Thanks Trey. Mr. Announcer, who’s next on Rate the Rockies Bullpen?
Announcer: That would be Carlos Estevez!
Skip: Oh this one will be interesting. Carlos Estevez, the former Rockies closer who was sent down to Triple-A just last week to take a breath but then never pitched and was recalled three days later? This will be fascinating. OK studio audience, vote now!
Music plays. Announcer in a hushed tone says, “By the way, Estevez was sent to Triple-A to make room for Chad Qualls. Ironic.”
Buzzer sounds. Voting is done.
Drum roll and curtain pulls back to reveal a 6.
Skip: OK, kind of a middle of the road answer there. Cynthia from Idaho Springs, what would you say about that number?
Cynthia: I’m still shaking my head about the two games in early August where he gave up leads against Miami and Texas. That stretch right there is I believe what signaled the beginning of the end for Colorado’s Wild Card chances. He has a double-digit ERA in August but at least got two outs today without any damage.
Skip: So the 1.80 ERA in July doesn’t help him here?
Cynthia: That was then and this is now. The Rockies were on fire as a team after the All-Star break. Now they’ve just been swept by the Brewers. Enough said.
Skip: Thanks Cynthia. Mr. Announcer, who’s next on Rate the Rockies Bullpen?
Announcer: That would be Boone Logan!
Skip: Boone Logan, the left-handed specialist who was the focal point of so many trade rumors in July? Well … let’s see what the audience says!
Buzzer sounds. Voting is done.
Drum roll and curtain pulls back to reveal an 8.
Skip: Wow, an 8. That’s our highest ranking so far. Impressive. Louis from Longmont, what do you think about Boone Logan?
Louis: He’s one of the few guys in the bullpen I actually have confidence in right now. I have a pretty good feeling when he comes in to face a left-hander. It’s kind of a weird feeling since I always hated him coming into a game last season. This season, however, he’s been solid.
Skip: So those two runs charged to him Tuesday night in Milwaukee don’t bother you?
Louis: Of course they bother me, Skip. About as much as your suit does.
Louis: But those are the only two earned runs he’s given up this month in 10 games. I’ll take that any day of the week over some of the choices who are out in the pen right now.
Skip: Louis, I’d thank you but you insulted my suit so just go sit down. As he sits down, we’ll take a commercial break. We’ll be back with more Rate the Rockies Bullpen right after this…