The Colorado Rockies will begin the weekend on the brink of the NL West basement.
If the Rockies were in a more competitive division they would have already found the bottom of this treacherous pit. Were it not for the pathetically underfunded San Diego Padres, Colorado could have claimed “Worst in the NL West” weeks ago.
Now that inauspicious title seems inevitable.
The Padres, you see, have been improving of late. They are a studly 5-5 over their last ten games. Meanwhile the Rockies (16-27) have languished under a pile of bad personnel decisions (starting pitching in particular), counterproductive coaching (pitching coach Bob “The Ruiner” Apodaca in particular,) and pathetic in-game management (::cough:: ::ahem:: Jim Tracy.) Colorado sits just a half-game ahead of the Padres (17-29) at the bottom of the division.
So now the Rockies will travel to Cincinnati to face the red-hot Reds, winners of six straight. Colorado can mash with the best of them, and Cincinnati plays in a band box so expect some fireworks. But the Rockies’ pitching staff ranks 28th in Quality Starts, 29th in ERA, 30th With Hitters in Scoring Position (WHIP), and has the 30th worst Batting Average Against (BAA) out of 30 MLB teams.
In other words, the Reds will be scoring runs in droves on the thrown-together Colorado starters. The only hope for the Rockies is that their so-so bullpen has a good weekend.
The Padres will spend the next couple days finishing up a series against the Mets on Long Island. They pummeled New York 11-5 yesterday, and get three games against the atrocious Chicago Cubs starting Monday. The Cubs (15-29) are the only team in the National League with a worse record than the Rocks and Padres.
San Diego, for all their woes at the plate, always improves as the season wears on because they are basically a pitching farm for teams with money and a will to spend it. Their staff will firm up as we move into the meat of the summer, and the Rockies will be left very slowly in their dust unless something changes on Blake Street.
Of course, the only thing to change at this point in the season is management. Ousting GM Dan O’Dowd is meaningless because you can’t overhaul a ball club midseason – especially where pitching is concerned. And really, O’Dowd made some sharp moves this offseason to shore up the Colorado offense.
The change we need is a complete gutting of the Colorado Rockies coaching staff.
The Rockies are still predominantly a young club. They have some real live arms from the current roster on down through AA Tulsa. We have to know by now that Pitching Coach Bob Apodaca is not the man to bring them up, though. Apodaca has been in Colorado for a decade now, and his only claims to fame are the surprisingly good bullpens that O’Dowd put together for him in 2007 and 2009.
Likewise, Jim Tracy has benefited from hot runs by Rockies batters. Success for Colorado has come in fits and starts, and neither Tracy nor Apodaca has been more than a bit player in the occasional rise to playoff contention. In fact, the Rocks made the playoffs in spite of Tracy in 2009. Since then it has been a comedy of errors.
No, this sad cast has played itself out. As much as the Monfort brothers don’t want to admit it, the time has come to start over where management is concerned.
The Colorado Rockies have the talent to contend in a couple of years, but right now they are moving in reverse. Worse, they are about to hit rock bottom.