One quote stands out following yesterday's game in this piece from Nick Groke, and it comes from Troy Tulowitzki:
"I'm trying to sit in my chair right here and think of one positive thing, and there's not many,"
This is exactly the thought that ran through my mind this morning as I sat down to write this Rockpile. Even in bad stretches of baseball, there's usually silver linings in the clouds. Something that stands out and makes you say "I can't wait to keep watching this storyline unfold even in the middle of this losing streak." The Rockies, however, are in such a terrible state they've even robbed that from us over the last two weeks with what has to be in the running for the most "this team makes me want to gouge my eyes out with hot pokers" 14-day stretch of baseball we've seen in recent memory, and that's saying something with this team.
Here's a quick recap of the recent baseball events as it concerns the fellowship of the miserable:
Tuesday, April 28th: Lose 12-5
Wednesday, April 29th: Lose 9-1
Thursday, April 30th: Scheduled Off Day
Friday, May 1st: Lose 14-3
Saturday, May 2nd: Lose 4-2
Sunday, May 3rd: Lose 8-6
Monday, May 4th: Game gets rained out and the Rockies learn Adam Ottavino needs Tommy John Surgery
Tuesday, May 5th: Another game gets rained out
Wednesday, May 6th: Rockies lose both ends of a double header 13-7 and 5-1
Thursday, May 7th: Scheduled Off Day
Friday, May 8th: Lose 2-1 in a rain shorted game with help from the umps on a blown call at the plate
Saturday, May 9th: Game gets snowed out
Sunday, May 10th: Rockies lose 9-5
Monday, May 11th: Scheduled Off Day
Yes, between the bad weather, the schedule, and some unbelievably horrendous baseball, the Rockies have now gone 14 consecutive days without notching a win. The franchise record for most losses in a row is 13 from the expansion 1993 squad, but this club is rapidly approaching the days without a win record within a season.
It's not even just about the wins and losses though. Most reasonable fans knew going into this season that this team was unlikely to contend. The issue here is the utter bag of crap that A) makes every game about as enjoyable as sitting in a dentist chair for four hours, and B) makes it difficult to evaluate certain key players you may or may not want to keep beyond 2015.
The pitching was supposed to be bad. It was not supposed to be THIS bad. Right now, the Colorado staff has allowed more runs per game than any other team, walked more batters per nine innings than any other team, allowed more hits per nine innings than any other team, gotten fewer innings out of the starting rotation than any other team, posted the worst WHIP of any team, posted the worst ERA+ of any team, and the worst K/BB ratio of any team.
If we take all the games that have gone nine innings over the last two weeks, the Rockies have allowed an average of 9.25 runs per game. An AVERAGE of 9.25 runs per game! Yes, there have been some issues offensively, but how can we even begin to properly evaluate that unit as a group when they are handed the task of likely having to score double digit runs every day if they want a chance to win. That is hot garbage!
We are now nearing the middle of May, and this pitching staff is currently on pace to give up MORE RUNS than the 2012 team. Think about that for a moment. In fact, if the pitching continues on its current trajectory, the arms will allow more runs than any Rockies team since the humidor was installed, and possibly more than any team in Coors Field history sans the 1999 staff which allowed an abysmal and almost unbelievable 1,028 runs.
It goes even deeper than just the awful pitching though. The combination of the aggressive approach at the plate by the offense and the nightly walkathons held by the pitching staff makes it seem like the opponent is always at the plate. I spent way too long unsuccessfully looking for numbers that document this sort of thing, but I'm confident that few teams have forced their fan base to ever watch this ratio of guys at the plate vs. guys in the field.
And the walks obviously do something else that destroys the enjoyment level of this team. They take this excellent infield defense right out of their element. It's maddening to watch games go down the toilet as gold glovers like Nolan Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki, and DJ LeMahieu just stand helplessly at their position watching this pitching staff hand out free pass after free pass.
I'm not even sure what can be done about this either. You have guys on this team who are in funks physically and/or mentally where they are literally incapable of throwing the ball over the plate. It's monumentally frustrating on so many levels.
Jorge De La Rosa has yet to go more than five innings in a start this season -- or pitch in a game the Rockies won for that matter -- Tyler Matzek couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat and has been sent to Triple-A, and Kyle Kendrick has become the National League's piñata. And that's just the starting rotation. The bullpen has gotten a bit of a free pass so far, thanks to the rotation being so bad and the choppy schedule masking some of their holes, but don't worry, because we're about to embark on a stretch of schedule that will surely gas this part of the team as well.
Thanks to all the rain outs coupled with the way the schedule broke, the Rockies will now begin a stretch on Tuesday where they have to play 54 games in 55 days. Can you imagine what this bullpen is going to look like when we get to early July at the end of this stretch? This club may get in a position where they're just picking up warm bodies out of the MLB trash can just to eat innings. As bad as it's been, we could be on the front end of something truly horrifying, because it's hard to imagine this pitching staff emerging from that stretch of games in anything but shambles.