Colorado Rockies: How Tyler Kinley and Philip Diehl can make the Opening Day roster
The Colorado Rockies defeated the Chicago White Sox by a score of 1-0 in seven innings, improving their record to 4-2-1 in spring training.
German Marquez pitched well in his spring training debut but Tyler Kinley pitched well once again for the Rockies out of the bullpen and left-hander Philip Diehl had a good rebound performance on Sunday after he was rocked on Thursday against Seattle.
Kinley, 30, made his second appearance of the spring and had his second scoreless frame of work. In those two innings, he has struck three batters out.
For Diehl, 26, he appeared in the Rockies first spring training game on February 28 against Arizona and worked a scoreless inning but he allowed five hits (including back-to-back-to-back home runs), a walk, and five runs (all earned) in just two-thirds of an innings on Thursday.
After the game, Black spoke about Diehl and what he saw and liked out of him on Sunday.
"“Well, (Diehl) bounced back after the game [with Seattle],” said Black, to the media, including Rox Pile, on the field in Arizona. “He got the two quick outs against the Mariners and then made some bad pitches. Today, he didn’t. He struck out (Eloy) Jimenez on that 0-2 breaking ball in the dirt, which was a good pitch … He threw strikes. (His) [s]tuff looked fine — had a good breaking ball today so good for Phil showing the ability to boneblack.”"
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
The problem against Kinley and Diehl is that they have minor league options when most of the bullpen doesn’t. Rule V pick Jordan Sheffield would have to be offered back to the Dodgers and DFA’d to be sent back to the minors. The only other reliever outside of Kinley and Diehl that has a minor league option is Daniel Bard and he was their best and most consistent reliever in 2020.
While there is a 26-man roster this year (and a taxi squad for road games), there is no limit on the number of pitchers, like there was in 2020. So, if Bud Black and the Rockies want to, they could decide to carry a four- or even three-man bench to carry more pitchers.
And that could be even more of a possibility if Antonio Senzatela or Scott Oberg have setbacks and aren’t on track to be ready for Opening Day.
As of this publication, both of them seem to be on track for Opening Day as Black said that Senzatela threw in a side session on Sunday and he “felt good” after it and Black said on Sunday morning that he expects Oberg “to pitch here in a few days.”
They have Oberg on a schedule as well that would get him “about eight games” of work during spring training “if everything goes according to plan.” Black also said in Oberg’s last simulated game, his fastball was in the “low-90s” and his changeup and breaking ball “looked great.”
But if Senzatela isn’t ready the Rockies don’t need a fifth starter until April 10th (Opening Day is April 1st) and if Oberg isn’t ready, the picture could have Kinley and Diehl in it.
Especially if they only use a four-man rotation to start the season, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Rockies start the season out with a nine- or even a ten-man bullpen. When rosters were only 25 players, Black had carried as many as 14 pitchers with a three-man bench (with two of the three being catchers) so he may decide to do so again.
As of now, those are the best ways for Kinley and Diehl to make the team out of spring training.