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Past & Present: The worst bullpen in Rockies history (and it's not the 2014 version)

If you thought the 2014 bullpen was the worst in Rockies history, think again. A decade ago, the team managed to assemble an even worse crop of relievers.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting here watching the Rockies bullpen blow game after game, it's hard to imagine it's not the worst group of relievers the Rockies have ever assembled, but it isn't. The inaugural Rockies team in 1993 definitely had a worse bullpen, and an argument could be made that the 1999 Rockies did as well, but nothing compares to the horror show that was the 2004 Rockies bullpen.

In 2004, the Rockies bullpen pitched 499 2/3 innings and was good for a 5.53 ERA and 5.01 FIP; compare that to  the 2014 crew that has a 4.76 ERA and 4.41 FIP in 363 innings so far, and yes, the humidor was installed by 2004 so that's not an excuse. However, the more prolific offense league-wide may be, but the '04 bullpen had an ERA- of 114 compared to the 112 mark in 2014.

Yes, 2004 was the year the Rockies moved Shawn Chacon into the closer's role and he did manage to save 35 games, but did so with a 7.11 ERA, nearly two runs worse than any other 35-save season in MLB history. Chacon gave up at least one run in 29 of his 66 appearances in 2004 and gave up multiple runs 13 times.

The best reliever the Rockies had in 2004 was also the one that pitched the most innings, 39-year-old setup man Steve Reed, who was in his second stint with the team. The veteran sidearmer made 65 appearances in 2004, posting a 3.68 ERA and 4.37 FIP in 66 innings with just 38 strikeouts. He was the only Rockies reliever in 2004 with an ERA below 4.00.

The other two main contributors from the right side in the 2004 bullpen were Tim Harikkala and Scott Dohmann. Harikkala was 32 at the time and '04 was his only full season in the majors, he posted a 4.74 ERA in 62 2/3 innings. Dohmann, meanwhile, had the best of his three seasons with the Rockies with a 4.11 ERA and 4.42 FIP in 41 appearances.

The Rockies did have two lefties in the 2004 bullpen that went on to have very solid careers. Brian Fuentes posted a 5.64 ERA in 44 2/3 innings in his last season as a middle reliever before a move to the closer's role in 2005, a role he kept for four seasons that put him on top of the Rockies' career saves list with 115.

The other lefty out of the bullpen for the Rockies that year was Javier Lopez, who has gone on to a very successful career and was a key LOOGY for a pair of championship teams in San Francisco. However, he was just another part of the train wreck that was the Rockies bullpen in 2004, posting a 7.52 ERA because apparently Clint Hurdle didn't know how platoon splits work  and let him face as many right-handed hitters as he did lefties.

Other pitchers that saw time out of the Rockies bullpen in 2004 included 41-year-old lefty Jeff Fassero, Allan Simpson, Vladimir Nunez, Adam Bernero and the always quirky Turk Wendell, though I don't think he ever brushed his teeth in the dugout as a Rockie. They pitched pretty much exactly as you would expect that group to pitch, which is to say not well.

So remember, as bad as this year's bullpen has been, and it has been awful, it could always be, and has been, worse.