Today's Rockpile is going to be brief since I got a very late start on it, but something interesting did happen off the field on Sunday.
Jeff Bridich did an interview with MLB Network radio and was asked about Walt Weiss' future with the Rockies. In this case, Bridich says it best when he says nothing at all. He notes that he still has a year left on his contract and that the club is going to let the season play out before they make that determination, but I highly doubt that anything Weiss does or does not do in these next 13 games is going to be the determining factor of if he stays or if he goes.
In all likelihood, the front office already has a pretty strong opinion about whether or not they want Weiss managing this team again in 2016, and if the Rockies were planning on bringing him back, I think we would see more obvious signs of it by now. Instead, when this topic was brought up, Bridich did a delicate dance around the question. Granted, Bridich does tend to do this when asked about any important topic.
The scoreboard is not on Weiss' side either. Under his watch, the Rockies are 203-270: A full 67 games under .500. Worse yet, the team's .429 winning percentage with him as a manager is the worst under any skipper in team history. It's mostly not his fault. No manager could have made these teams winners with the excess of injuries and the shortage of pitching, but as I've carefully watched Weiss make decisions over the last few months, I've come to the conclusion that while he's not the THE problem with the Rockies, he's also not the solution going forward either.
In other news, Kyle Kendrick got bombarded again yesterday. If he didn't get injured in August and spend some time on the DL, he could have closed in on some all time records for home runs allowed in a season. Yesterday, he gave up four more long balls to Matt Kemp, Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg and Jedd Gyorko.
For the year, he's now allowed 32 home runs in just 131 innings. Perhaps even more amazing is that if you add up his walks and home runs allowed (32 + 41), they total more than his strikeouts on the season (72). In other words, on plays where the defense is not involved to help him get an out, there's over a 50 percent chance the batter is going to reach base, and an over 20 percent chance that the batter is going to be rounding all of the bases. That's unspeakably dreadful.
One part of the pitching staff that hasn't been quite as bad the last few weeks is the bullpen. This is a case where I think the expanded rosters have really helped the Rockies win an extra game or two they probably wouldn't have gotten in August.
The short starts don't burn out the pen as much because there's a small village waiting out there in the pen, and since the Rockies lacked a group of real trustworthy relievers going into September, the gap between the fourth best guy out there (who was out there a month ago anyway) and about the tenth best guy out there (who is new) is really small. So now you have a similar level pitching out there, but everyone's more rested when they come into close games. This combined with the resurgence of John Axford has stabilized the late innings quite a bit.
Bobby DeMuro over at RoxPile has another bullpen arm he's like to add to this conversation in Christian Bergman.
Finally, we have some really good baseball tonight. Two juicy series in the AL stand out in particular. The Blue Jays host the Yankees to start a three game set where they try to protect their narrow 2.5 games lead in the AL East (This game will be on MLB Network tonight), and the Astros host the Angels as they try to protect their narrow 2.5 game lead in the Wild Card over LA. All this while they simultaneously try to erase what has now become a 1.5 game deficit to the Rangers in the division race. Remember, the last time these two teams faced each other eight days ago in Anaheim, Huston Street gave up five runs in the ninth after his team was one strike away from the win.
Oh, and the Rockies give you a good reason to watch tonight too. It's Gray day!