SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 7: Jim Tracy #4 manager of the Colorado Rockies looks on during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on May 7, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
You can probably panic now. That is, if you had any expectations that the Rockies were going to be postseason contenders this year. With the sweep at the hands of the division leading LA Dodgers completed yesterday afternoon, the Rockies are now 9.5 games out in the division and 7.5 games out of the 2nd wild card. Their 13-20 record ranks them 15th out of 16 in the NL. Colorado's playoff odds are under 10%. That's dead in the water territory, folks.
This isn't easy for me to say, but the Rockies are probably done as contenders in 2012. I know what they've done in the past, so I know that counting this team out at this point may be premature. I just don't see that sort of a comeback in this year's team.
Maybe this is the consequence of focusing so heavily on clubhouse culture this off-season. Here's a Tulo quote from that article:
"It's a tough time, and this is one of the lowest of the lows," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "We have a lot of veteran players and a lot of expectations. It's still early, but we need to get it going in the right direction. But we do have time."
The Rockies don't have much time -- if they've got a 2009-esque run in them, the Rockies had better start it soon.
For all intents and purposes, Colorado's playoff chances are squarely between slim and none, and we're not even halfway through May. Some days (okay, most days) the pitching melts down (the Rockies walked 10 yesterday), in other days the hitting peters out at the wrong time. With all that in mind, Colorado needs to change the way they are approaching this season.
For one thing, I think that the best strategy for the future and the best strategy for this season are now in alignment. Colorado needs to see what they have in Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Juan Nicasio, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood, and the rest of their young arms that are in or are close to MLB. That means no more Jamie Moyer. That means finding out if these starters can give you some length with consistency on an extended trial period.
The Rockies need to have patience with the young position players they believe will be key contributors to 2013 and beyond. That means consistent playing time for players at the MLB level like Wilin Rosario, Tyler Colvin, and Dexter Fowler -- as well as promotions for some prospects in the minors. I understand the importance of putting forth a respectable product on the field, but can we truly argue that the product being put forth by the current roster is acceptable? It's an opportunity for Rockies fans to glimpse a bright future in the current MLB product.
Finally, the management probably needs a fresh start as well, though I'm not confident that this move is in store. This season hasn't so much been Jim Tracy's fault as it has Dan O'Dowd's -- few managers could be expected to win with the pitching staff Tracy has been given to work with. With that said, Tracy is not the man I (or the majority of fans) want to be managing this team long-term -- and I'm beginning to be more and more convinced that this team's architect isn't the man for the job either.
Having observed the hiring patterns of the Monforts though, I don't think that either move is likely at this point. This team needs new blood in management and on the field, but ownership will take some convincing. Baby steps.
Dexter Fowler left yesterday's game when he experienced blurry vision. I can only hope that he wasn't concussed on the play.