In the past two games, the Rockies have faced two veteran pitchers -- one a right-hander and the other a lefty. Through the first two months of the season, this usually meant that players like Drew Stubbs, and sometimes even Michael Cuddyer, would get a day off the first day and then maybe spell Justin Morneau, Charlie Blackmon, and/or Corey Dickerson the next. However, Walt Weiss, perhaps in an effort to break the Rockies' growing losing streak, has gone unconventional to the point of confusion.
It started Thursday night with a lineup that had Stubbs hitting second and manning center field, Cuddyer playing first base, and Charlie Culberson getting the nod over the left-handed hitting Ryan Wheeler at third. Now some can point to the fact that right-handed batters were actually faring better against Bronson Arroyo this year, but I call that a small sample size phenomenon. Culberson and Stubbs went a combined 1-for-6 against Arroyo. Late-inning pinch hitting craziness led to Cuddyer having to move over to third, something he has said he doesn't want to do, just to get Morneau back into the lineup. A more standard lineup would have had Morneau in the game the entire time with Cuddy in right field.
I understand giving players rest, but the Rockies had just had an off day on Monday, and Friday would have been a more opportune time to rest Morneau. Apparently, Weiss wanted to give Cuddyer a day off too, and Thursday would have been better than Friday if that were the case.
However, we get to Friday and have another strange lineup. Sure, Eddie Butler may be more comfortable with a defensive catcher like Michael McKenry behind the plate. However, Wilin Rosario has absolutely crushed left-handed pitching in his career. Lefty on the mound? Why not use the three right-handed outfielders, or at least two of the three?
Losing streaks bring pressure, but using the players that are available to create the best matchups is what will give this team the best chance to win. Giving away at-bats in the first six to seven innings just so there are options on the bench does not matter if you are down by a handful of runs by that point.
Sound play by the team and sound thoughts -- not off-the-wall thinking -- by the manager will turn this losing streak around. Hopefully Walt will return to what was working -- and soon.