Colorado Rockies: More Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

Sep 11, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds (center) and teammates celebrate a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds (center) and teammates celebrate a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Rockies have 18 games left to go in the season. As of today they sit at 69-75, which is already more wins than in the last two full seasons. So has this season been a success? We know the talent level is young and deep, certainly on the batting side. But seriously, can the Rockies ever have an effective bullpen?

It’s time for the Colorado Rockies to blow up the bullpen again and start from scratch

This theme is similar to “The Purge” movies – the one day of the year where you can commit any crime you want with no consequences from law enforcement.  I think most of us Rockies fans would like to commit a crime on this ineffective Rockies bullpen.

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Once again, last night night they were given a three-run lead and it lasted for about a minute. It took Jordan Lyles just five batters to erase the lead, giving up a career-first grand slam to Yasmany Tomas.

Then enter Walt Weiss-favorite Jake McGee, and yet again he watched two meaty fat pitches get properly deposited over the Chase Field fence.

The Rockies have just two – yes, two – relief pitchers with ERA’s under 4.90 – closer Adam Ottavino (2.38) and Boone Logan (2.95). On the other end of the spectrum is German Marquez (11.57) and Matt Carasiti (14.40). These guys are rookies and haven’t pitched much (12.1 innings combined) so it is OK to give them a hall pass for now.

Logan will be a free agent after this season, and let’s assume he walks to greener pastures somewhere else, unless the Monfort’s suddenly (and shockingly) open up their checkbook. The only veteran they need to keep is Ottavino. The rest of the veterans can be sent packing. McGee, Justin Miller, Chad Qualls, Jason Motte and Scott Oberg have no business being in Rockies uniforms in 2017.

It will be somewhat painful again in 2017, but the Colorado Rockies need to keep working with pitchers like Carlos Estevez, Lyles, Christian Bergman, Marquez and Carasiti and slowly turn them into reliable relievers.

Additionally, the Rockies need to find veteran arms again who are not afraid to throw strikes and can keep the ball down in the strike zone consistently. Whoever they bring in doesn’t need to be a world-beater – they just don’t need to serve up home runs and hits on a platter.

The Rockies offense promises to be very good in 2017. But like last season, if you are scoring five-plus runs a game and your pitching can’t support or maintain that lead – well, you know.

The Rockies will continue their Jekyll and Hyde show

The Rockies have no problem in competing against the good teams – they look motivated and play like they have a point to prove. Then when they play the likes of the Brewers, Padres and Diamondbacks, they play like one of their close relatives just died.

None of the Rockies players can put their finger on the cause of this. However, it seems purely mental. When you are mentally sharp, you play well. When you are not, you don’t, and then you see the lazy fielding mistakes and the poor at-bats with zero plate discipline.

The Rockies have two more games against the Snakes, three more against the Padres and three more against the Brewers. The Rockies will probably go 2-6 in these games if they keep up their current trend.

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Conversely, they have three games against the St. Louis Cardinals, four against the LA Dodgers and three more with the San Francisco Giants. In these 10 games, the Rockies will be motivated to play playoff-bound/contending teams and play the spoiler. They will likely go 7-3 in these games and look like bona fide contenders themselves, except in reality of course they are not.

The three phases of the game will look effortless against winning teams and against the losing teams they will show lazy fielding techniques, poor plate discipline and horrendous relief pitching. You can just about take that to the bank. It has been the quintessential Rockies M.O. for the last two months.

Can DJ LeMahieu win the National League batting title?

Yes he can! LeMahieu sits just two percentage points behind the Washington Nationals Daniel Murphy (.347 to .345). Murphy has just 11 more at-bats than LeMahieu over the season as of today.

LeMahieu has developed the uncanny ability this season to work out a hit on a two-strike count. He leads all Rockies hitters with 173 hits on the season, and his 2016 slash line (.345/.416/.906) is way ahead of his career slash line (.298/.349/.746).

He is easily the most underrated second baseman in baseball and he is easily the best second second baseman in the NL – his offensive numbers don’t match Murphy’s in some areas, but defensively he is a cut above (.991 fielding percentage versus Murphy’s .980).

He will probably win another Gold Glove and it would be great to see him get some NL MVP votes. However, the national media ignores the Rockies (in some ways for good reason), but it would be a travesty to see his efforts not get recognized this year.

Next: Colorado Rockies: 5 Random Thoughts on a Monday Night

No matter how these last 18 games go, the Rockies have an exciting future ahead of them and 2017 could be a very good year with the right parts in place and getting better luck on the injury front. However, general manager Jeff Bridich has to solve the bullpen riddle. 2016 was a major strikeout. But 2017 with the current youth mixed in with better veteran additions could lead to something approaching success.