Colorado Rockies: Three options for Bryan Shaw and his struggles
By Kevin Henry
Prior to the season, Bryan Shaw was brought in to help stabilize the back end of the Colorado Rockies bullpen. Now, with two full months of the 2018 season already in the books, the veteran right-hander is doing more at the moment to hurt the Rockies than help them.
Shaw’s nightmarish season continued again on Tuesday night in the series opener in Cincinnati against the Reds. Brought in with a 9-3 Rockies lead in the bottom of the ninth, Shaw imploded once again on the mound, giving up five hits and three runs. He couldn’t even finish the inning before Wade Davis was summoned to finish the game and preserve a 9-6 Colorado win.
Davis needed three pitches to finally put a merciful end to a Cincinnati rally. Shaw, meanwhile, threw 17 pitches and Cincinnati feasted on his many location mistakes with little abandon. What seemed like mop-up duty turned into some uneasy moments in the Colorado dugout.
Tuesday night’s appearance was Shaw’s 33rd of the season, a number that leads the Rockies. It’s also a number that needs to change because Shaw has done little to help the team in recent appearances. In his last seven games, he has a 16.50 ERA and has given up 16 hits in six innings of work. His WHIP during that time has swelled to 2.67.
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Shaw was a workhorse during his time in Cleveland, averaging appearances in 75.6 games during his five seasons with the Indians. His ERA during those appearances? 3.11, helping the Indians have one of the dominant bullpens in the American League.
That, however, seems like ancient history right now. Opponents are hitting .325 against Shaw this season. His worst year in Cleveland, that number sat at .247.
With his veteran status, Shaw won’t be sent to Triple-A to work out any flaws in his delivery right now. However, something needs to be done.
The options are simple. One, Colorado manager Bud Black can let Shaw continue to work out of the bullpen and hope he snaps out of his funk. Two, Black can bypass Shaw and let him work on the side until things are ironed out. Three, Black could put Shaw on the 10-day disabled list with an injury and allow him to get his mindset back to where it needs to be.
Two is the most unlikely scenario of any of the three listed above. The Rockies bullpen has been overworked in recent games and hiding a reliever with Adam Ottavino still on the shelf just isn’t possible.
Shaw needs a break to find his form again and the Rockies need that to happen sooner than later. If Ottavino comes off the disabled list later this week, could Shaw take his place on there for some needed time off? It’s possible … and could be the best option.
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Shaw’s struggles can’t be hidden right now and the Rockies can’t afford to have him scuffling along as he has in recent games. If he can’t find his way very, very soon, Colorado will be forced to figure out Plan B for a reliever who was supposed to be a big part of their plans for a successful bullpen in 2018.