"Time to hit the showers." "But I haven't even sweated yet!" "I know...I know."
Those holding out hope that this afternoon's news was a twitter hoax or Jim Tracy ruse got their final dose of acceptance tonight. The Rockies announced today a dastardly plan to set the MLB record for fewest staff quality starts in a season by going to a 4-man rotation, capping each starter with a pitch count of 75 to account for one fewer day of rest.
Colorado's rotation entered the night with just 26% of their games featuring a quality start from their starting pitcher, last in the NL. The team with the 2nd fewest is Atlanta...at 42%.
Josh Outman started decently, working two shutout innings while using 28 pitches. He allowed three runs over the next two innings due to a double and 2-run home run, but the Rockies were very much in the game still with a 3-1 score. After punching out Cole Hamels to start the 5th inning, Outman allowed a single and a walk, and his night was done. 72 pitches, 4.1 IP, and a 3-1 game as he departed. It's real.
The benefits of this unconventional maneuver, if there are any, and if they could be seen even if they do exist, would not surface in one night. Neither would the weaknesses in the plan. Yet the plan relies heavily on the bullpen, which has been great so far. Guillermo Moscoso, confused at the gymnastics his organization is doing to keep him out of the rotation, lowered his ERA in relief this season to 3.38 with 1.2 solid innings of work.
Adam Ottavino, however, was not so fortunate. Entering with a 2.08 ERA for the season, the former Cardinal served up a 3-run home run to Carlos Ruiz, which represented Ruiz' ninth home run, a career high.
25 - 41
Offensively, the Rockies didn't get much going against Cole Hamels, but the offense wasn't completely absent. Dexter Fowler, who owns the team's best wRC+ this season, was on the bench tonight after an off-day. Yet the odd lineup choice by Jim Tracy gave the Rockies the lead in the first inning. Eric Young Jr. beat out a grounder to short, stole second and scored on a single by Tyler Colvin.
With the loss, the Rockies are now 1-11 in their last twelve and back on pace to lose more than 100 games for the first time in franchise history. They fall to 16 games under .500, the lowest point of the season, tied for the furthest below .500 they have been since July 17, 2008. Only one date since 2008 has matched 16 games below .500 - the final day of the 2011 season.
Tyler Colvin (+.040): 1-for-4, RBI, K.
Todd Helton (+.015): 0-for-2, 2 BB, R
Matt Reynolds (+.001): 1.0 IP, H, K.
Josh Outman (-.230): 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR. (+.007): 0-for-1, BB.
Adam Ottavino (-.084): 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR.
Marco Scutaro (-.068): 1-for-4, 2B, K.
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