Thursday Rockpile: 1/9th into the season, we have a very mediocre team

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 25: Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies misses a fly ball in left field during the second game of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 25, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

"We haven't come close yet to this club firing on all cylinders, so I give a lot of credit to the fact that we're doing a great job of holding our own."

Jim Tracy, after yesterday's DH split

According to advanced measures, the Rockies pitching remains abysmal, as they're at the bottom of the majors in several of the advanced stats at FanGraphs. Even this last series against the offensively inept Pirates displayed this weakness, as none of the other five teams to play Pittsburgh in 2012 had allowed more than eight runs in a three game series, the Rockies gave up 11.

Having said that, much of the team's weakness in these measures of pitching performance can be attributed to three starters that are seemingly entrenched in their slots in the rotation, Jeremy Guthrie, Jamie Moyer, and Jhoulys Chacin. In one case, Moyer's, I wouldn't be surprised if the pitcher continues to defy the advanced measures that value everything he isn't (high K's, low traffic, etc...) and puts up respectable performances regardless. In the cases of Guthrie and Chacin, the Rockies and Rockies fans are banking on turnarounds to the pitchers' career averages as the season progresses.

On offense, the Rockies have been much more respectable when you dig inside the numbers, but still show room for growth, posting a mediocre wRC+ of 101 as a team. The Dodgers, Giants and D-backs have been either as good or in LA's case, significantly better, when it comes to run production on the season thus far. As would be the case with the team's starters, I would suspect that Jim Tracy looks to middling production from stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez when he says what he does up top.

In terms of actual W-L results so far, of course, the Rockies are a perfectly mediocre 9-9, having gone one game above .500 at home, one game below .500 on the road. The team has played one of the weakest schedules in the National League, but then again, so have the rest of the teams in the NL West division, and despite the Dodgers current buffer on top, no team has looked like an obvious choice for division favorite thus far.

The good news for the Rockies then, is that if the team's starting pitching does bounce back from the early season struggles and if it coincides with Tulo and Cargo heating up, there would still appear to be a window of opportunity for Colorado to work its way into the divisional picture. I still don't know if I see that as a lot of things going right, as some would claim, as I see it as a lot of things going more or less according to their averages. In theory, this should translate to more wins, but I know my history with all this theoretical stuff.

OFF TOPIC

The Rockies missed a chance to have non-Jamie Moyer related 2012 memorabilia head to the Hall of Fame by allowing the Pirates to use their 26th man called up for yesterday's double header before putting Zach Putnam in for game two. As it turned out to be the Bucs' Jared Hughes that broke that all-important 26th player barrier, opening doors for AAAA scrubs everywhere, it will be the Pirates lineup card that gets enshrined in Cooperstown instead.

There's a Q and A with well known Coors Field beer vendor, Captain Earthman a.k.a. "Brent Doeden," at the Denver Post. Philosophically, it always fascinates me that ancillary personalities to the sport can draw enough media attention to merit the reporter time and column inches for articles and interviews like this, and that includes times that I've been asked to do interviews myself. So in this particular Q and A, I find the irony of the anonymous "The Player" statue taking prominence a paradoxically suitable metaphor as even the thought of a professional player getting away without being noticed and remaining nameless seems farcical when even beer vendors are getting write-ups.

Fans in Fort Myers, Florida, have yet to cash in on a promotion by a Twins affiliate to throw harder than Jamie Moyer's 78 mph fastball for a free ticket

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