Thursday Rockpile: Rockies pit strategy falling short.

 

Ubaldo Jimenez came out flat, while the Rockies offense had one good inning in them last night. That's not really a recipe for success, especially with Matt Belisle struggling as well later. If there is any good news from yesterday, it's that Jason Hammel's dead right arm might not be that dead.

While the rotation wheezes, the bullpen is in flux. Joe Beimel's been losing high leverage appearances to Matt Reynolds

Meanwhile, our opponents aren't going through these issues:

The Giants rotation is fresh heading into the last three series of the season. While this certainly qualifies as good news for them in terms of this year, it also highlights some of the providence that they've received. All five of their starters are in line to have been on the mound for 30 or more starts in 2010 (for Madison Bumgarner, this includes AAA) when all is said and done, and health like that for an MLB rotation is pretty rare.

The rub for San Francisco and the boon for the rest of the division for the future is that this kind of health blessing doesn't last. One of my crazy off season predictions when we get there will be that one of the Giants current five man rotation misses significant time, 10 starts or more , in 2011 due to injury. To up the crazy factor, I'm going to predict that it's not Barry Zito. Or at least not only him. Without significant starting depth on their farm, getting a quality alternate will be important for them this winter.

Similar to the Giants rotation, the Padres bullpen is apparently feeling no fatigue. That the Rockies are currently running on fumes while their rivals are energized probably shouldn't be seen as an indictment of the team's training and conditioning. Altitude will have an effect in this and as I mentioned with regard to the Giants rotation, luck is a big factor as well.

Seth Smith is slumping and losing playing time as a couple of the notes columns have indicated, but after the season he'll be going back to Mississippi to speak at a Wild Game Dinner. I'm guessing they're going to be talking about June 19, or some of the other times Smith has gone crazy on opponents late. Good times.

 

 

Alright, so here's the question that Armstrong fails to ask, and if he did, it would save himself some angst. If the Rockies thought that it would be either Olivo or Iannetta staying after 2010, why did they sign both to starter level deals before the season began? Why offer Yorvit Torrealba a similar multi-year deal? The answer seems to me, and I agree with it, that the Rockies want two starting level catchers on their 25 man roster. No position wears down over the course of the season as much as a catcher does, I doubt any position is as prone to injury. If Iannetta's not the second starting level catcher on the Rockies and they do trade him, than don't be surprised if they go after another.

It's not like the Rockies are alone in this approach, either. As frugal as the Rays are, they also have made it a priority to have multiple contender level catchers on their squad. The Padres have Torrealba and Nick Hundley. The Reds have Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan. If you have a perennial All Star behind the plate (or a future perennial All-Star as the Giants seem to) it makes sense to ride that one guy as much as possible. Otherwise, having two decent backstops seems to be a working strategy for most mid and small market teams.

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