Out of all of the things that could best represent the Colorado Rockies' 2012 season, nothing quite beats the performance of the team's veteran starters over the course of the season.
The Rockies, perhaps foolishly, counted on Jeremy Guthrie and Jamie Moyer, and later, Jeff Francis and Jonathan Sanchez, to give the team a large chunk of innings at an average level of production. What the team got, instead, was 268 2/3 innings of horribly-pitched baseball; the four starters combined to post a 6.03 ERA.
Okay -- horrible might be too harsh of a word for one of these guys. Jeff Francis had pretty damn good peripherals during his few months with the team, and ended up leading the Rockies in innings pitched. He walked just 1.8 batters per nine innings while posting 6.1 strikeouts per nine. In addition, he led all Rockies starters in wins with six. So, I guess there is a reason why he'll be back, and it certainly wasn't a bad move for the Rox to re-sign him.
Jaime Moyer deserves a few nice things to be said about him, as well. One thing that speaks to how poor the Rockies' rotation was heading into the season is that Moyer was, far and away, the team's best pitcher for the first month of the season. In fact, he had a very respectable 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings in April for a Rockies team that was treading water at 11-11.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there for the 50-year-old lefty. Moyer's ERA in May was 8.64, and he was designated for assignment by the Rockies on June 4.
Jeremy Guthrie came to the Rockies prior to the season in a deal that sent Jason Hammel, who had been one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball in 2009 and 2010, and Matt Lindstrom to the Baltimore Orioles. It's unclear if Dan O'Dowd intended on Guthrie being the savior of the Rockies rotation as some suggest, but regardless of what the expectations were for the 33-year-old righty, he fell miserably short of them.
Guthrie was simply not able to get out of his own head while with the Rockies. He was a decent road pitcher, posting a 3.73 ERA in 49 innings. However, Guthrie was an unmitigated disaster at Coors Field. In 41 2/3 innings, he allowed an eye-popping 44 earned runs, good for an ERA of 9.50. Upon exiting in the third inning of what would be his final start as a Rockie on July 18 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Guthrie mockingly tipped his cap to booing fans. That marked the end of his disastrous tenure in Denver, as Guthrie was shipped to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez two days later.
Of course, Guthrie went on to have a terrific second half of the season with the Royals, finishing 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA. Meanwhile, Sanchez made three starts with the Rockies, totaling 11 innings, and put up a 9.53 ERA before landing on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. Leave it to Dan O'Dowd to be the only guy who continually gets fleeced by Royals GM Dayton Moore in trades.
It's not hard to put a grade on the performance, as a whole, of the Rockies' veteran starters in 2012. The kind of numbers listed above are deserving of a huge, bold-red, F.
In fact, the only pitcher of the four who deserves a grade better than failing would be Francis. Due to his solid peripherals and innings-eating tendencies, the 31-year-old southpaw gets a C on his 2012 report cardP