Tuesday Rockpile: The Lessons of Mr. Rogers

Esmil Rogers had made eleven career starts before last night, and the 25-year-old converted shortstop had produced a very varied array of results.  His performance was disappointing against Tim Lincecum, but it isn't just because he allowed eight runs in three innings, effectively knocking Colorado out of a game in the series opener of a big series. 

Rogers had great stuff to start his outing, and after a wind-aided double and penultimate example of a lucky hit, the young hurler lost all composure.  The trust in his stuff disappeared, his fastball command evaporated, and he melted under very little adversity. 

It is the type of challenge fans must deal with, especially when building from within.  Inconsistent young starters sometimes become cornerstones of a franchise.  Ubaldo Jimenez once gave up 13 runs in consecutive starts to the Dodgers when he was 25, and that was with a full season under his belt.  Or remember Ubaldo's start in Philadephia last season.  The six-walk-eight-out start by Jhoulys Chacin?  While I am disappointed that no one visited Rogers on the mound until the third, I trust someone will step up and talk to him between starts. 

Rockies fans have been spoiled by the depth Dan O'Dowd has built in the rotation, as Colorado was 5-0 in games started by Esmil Rogers, Greg Reynolds and Alan Johnson before last night.  None of those three were in the rotation in early March.  Clayton Mortensen was brought in yesterday when Alan Johnson was optioned explicitly for long relief help, and he delivered, working his sinker for six shutout innings. Spoiled again.

It was an encouraging outing, but don't let yourself call for Mortensen over Rogers.  Don't forget April 7.  And don't forget how different it is to face hitters on a cold night with an eight run cushion. 

While last night's game would have been a thrilling win, Colorado is 12-4 and owns MLB's best record.  It was a game they would have lost on paper, and the series is being a little overhyped.

There will be a roster move today - perhaps two.  Details after the jump.

Off Topic

Ubaldo Jimenez will finally be activated from the disabled list today.  After tossing 70 pitches and six innings last night, Mortensen is almost assuredly to get sent back to AAA as the corresponding move.  Jim Armstrong writes that Ian Stewart might also get his ticket to AAA punched today. Stewart is 2-for-26 with two walks and 11 strikeouts after 16 teams games, and he has two minor league options remaing.   Last year when Chris Iannetta was demoted with his two options remaining, he was 4-for-30 with two home runs, four walks and 11 strikeouts in 20 team games.

 

If Stewart goes down, Colorado would eventually call up a position player, possibly an outfielder.  Cole Garner (.400/.375/.514 in AAA) and Eric Young Jr. (.250/.364/.321 in AAA) are on the 40-man and would not require a roster move.  Charlie Blackmon (.286/.388/.643 in AAA) is a candidate to be added if they DFA Alan Johnson.  IF Chris Nelson (.300/.310/.450 in AAA) and C/IF Jordan Pacheco (.281/.333/.406) are on the 40-man and could also be possibilities if the FO wants to stick with four outfielders despite Seth Smith's tight groin.

However, we may see none of those guys until Friday even if Stewart is optioned. With a taxed bullpen, they may bring in a reliever to ensure they don't come up short in this series against San Francisco.  With Alan Johnson and Greg Reynolds less than ten days removed from being sent to AAA, neither of them are eligible to return.  Mortensen is tired and gone.  Andy Graham, Edgmer Escalona and Claudio Vargas are all on the disabled list.  John Maine pitched Sunday.  This all bottlenecks to make old friend Matt Daley the only realistic option, even if the Bucknell grad may only be here for two days.

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