Earlier today, the Rockies reassigned Jon Gray to the minors, ending any chance of the big righty opening the season in the rotation. This, combined with other news and previous club announcements gives us all the information we need to figure out what the rotation should look like for the month of April. Or at least, what the club plans for the rotation to look like this month.
A couple of the other important pieces to this puzzle were cleared up today by Nick Groke of the Denver Post. He announced Christian Bergman will make the opening day roster, but it will be out of the bullpen. Also in that piece, Groke confirms Eddie Butler will make the start in Game No. 3 of the season in Milwaukee next Wednesday if all goes well in his final tune up start start Saturday. If things don't go well, Groke outlines this plan:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" lang="en"><p>If Butler falters tomorrow, Bergman likely takes his place and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rockies?src=hash">#Rockies</a> call up Scott Oberg to the pen: <a href="http://t.co/8gV5A8hr0a">http://t.co/8gV5A8hr0a</a></p>— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) <a href="https://twitter.com/nickgroke/status/584137279913897984">April 3, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Combine this with yesterday's news of Jorge De La Rosa's target for his first start of the season on April 14th and the other rotation announcements made by the club earlier this spring involving Kyle Kendrick (Opening Day), Jordan Lyles (Game No. 2), and Tyler Matzek (Home Opener), and we've got everything we need to know if things go as planned.
Knowing this, I made the following rotation calendar outlining Colorado's plan for the rotation if they get good health reports.
This makes sense on a few different levels.
1) The Rockies will technically open the season with a four man rotation by taking advantage of the scheduled off day on April 9th. This will allow Kyle Kendrick, Jordan Lyles, and (hopefully) Eddie Butler to start on normal rest on April 11th, 12th, and 13th. Then, before Tyler Matzek would have to make a start on short rest, De La Rosa gets inserted into the rotation and things go around as they normally would from there.
2) Starting Jorge De La Rosa on the 14th also makes sense because it allows him to make five of his first eight starts at home where he excels. Starting against the Giants on the 14th also makes sense because without Hunter Pence early in the season with a broken bone, their lineup will be extra lefty heavy.
3) It keeps Jon Gray in the minors for at least the start of the season and delays his service clock allowing for an extra year of team control in 2021.
Of course, this is the Rockies, so I'm sure injuries will make this a waste of time, but if they don't, I can get excited about this plan.