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Friday Rockpile: What's wrong with Matt Belisle?

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Let's be honest: Matt Belisle has been putrid as of late. We take a shot at finding a reason for the righty's struggles.

Brad White

Over the course of his time in a Colorado Rockies uniform, Matt Belisle has been prone to have blow-up outings. We all know that. And in that regard, he's really not all that different from most other relievers.

What is currently making him different from not only other relievers, but also from the Matt Belisle we know and love, is that he's never had a stretch of poor performance to this magnitude, at least while with the Rockies. After his outing yesterday, which saw him allow a pair of runs, Belisle has surrendered at least two earned runs in five of his last seven appearances.

Belisle pitched the eighth and ninth innings in a 10-9 win over the San Diego Padres on June 7 and since then, has a 16.20 ERA in 6.2 innings of work.

So, what's wrong with Belisle? Well, part of the problem is that in those 6.2 innings, Belisle's BABIP-against is .500. That's surely going to come down, offering some reprieve. But, Belisle hasn't been his usual sharp self even aside from his recent struggles. He has walked batters at a much higher rate (2.5 BB/9) -- and struck out batters at a significantly lower rate (6.5 K/9) -- than in any of his previous three full seasons in Denver, negating the decrease in hits allowed per nine innings (from 10.2 H/9 in 2012 to 8.6 H/9 in 2013).

Another thing that jumps out is that Belisle is relying on his fastball a lot more this season. Last year, he threw ol' No. 1 60.1 percent of the time, perhaps becoming craftier after losing two miles per hour off of his fastball from the previous season. This year, Belisle is throwing his fastball 67.2 percent of the time, and it hasn't been nearly as valuable of a pitch as his slider or curveball.

With some decent luck, Belisle's numbers are going to improve. But, be warned: it's also not out of the realm of possibility that the 33-year-old righty's days are numbered as a rock in the Rockies' bullpen, particularly with the loss of velocity that he's experience over the last couple of years.

Off-topic

Links

ESPN's Jim Bowden thinks it would take Eddie Butler and Rob Scahill for the Rockies to pry Ricky Nolasco away from the Marlins. Strangely enough, none of the other NL West teams would have to part with a top-50 prospect in baseball, according to Bowden. Huh.

Our favorite analyst Keith Law posted his "Real" All-Star team and omitted Carlos Gonzalez in favor of Carlos Gomez, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Braun. He also ignored CarGo as an honorable mention-type, instead praising Shin-Soo Choo, Gerardo Parra and Yasiel Puig. To his credit, Law did mention Troy Tulowiztki as the obvious choice at shortstop if not for the injury.

Baseball Prospectus' Daniel Rathman previews tonight's matchup between Jhoulys Chacin and Pablo Sandoval. He notes Sandoval hasn't been a world-beater during his career at Coors Field but has owned Chacin to the tune of a 1.320 OPS.

We'll dive into the Giants a bit more in Know Your Foe later this afternoon.