Sunday Rockpile: Four man rotation yet to connect, but Rockies still have a few checkers to play

DENVER, CO - JUNE 30: Baseball fans watch a fireworks show after a game between the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

John Smoltz likes the Rockies idea of a four man rotation, but echoes the familiar criticism of the 75 pitch limit associated with it. The experiment remains a work in progress, without the desired results thus far, but the team thankfully isn't ready to pull the plug on it yet. I doubt I would have gone the direction the club's taking, but I'm definitely against dropping an experiment like this so quickly after implementing it.

I just got back from spending the past week in Boston, where the irony of reading about the Red Sox "call to arms" for their rotation being answered by two former Rockies was not lost on me. Both Aaron Cook and Franklin Morales filling in without adjustment where other more prominently known pitchers have faltered this season could be an indication of the value learning to pitch at Coors Field could have for major league pitchers when they do almost inevitably move on to other teams. I think more than any other MLB park, Coors forces pitchers to learn to limit the damage they allow with hits and walks rather than just focusing on preventing them in the first place. The lessons Coors teaches, so long as they get learned, seem to add some longevity to pitchers like Cook's careers by making the profession more a craft rather than just a skill.

The learning eventually helps the Rockies too, if pitchers stick around for a little while after receiving it as Jeff Francis has shown in a couple of starts for the Rockies. Last night's start by Christian Friedrich remains encouraging in this regard as it might be a step for the young left hander in the direction of mastery of his environment.

Carlos Gonzalez will be representing the Rockies at the All-Star game in Kansas City.

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