BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
Being realistic is a good thing.
It means no one can be disappointed at the outcome. It makes life easy that way.
While most folks around the country are optimistic about their baseball teams, the Rockies fans are not.
In fact, the Rockies are not, either.
The Rockies and their fans know this season will be another long season.
The Rockies are the favorites to be in last place in 2013. Talk about a buzzkill. This happens every year, too.
Give the organization credit for being honest about themselves rather than selling false hope. They know they are not better than the Giants, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Padres. They are not fooling anyone when they don’t have starting pitching.
Yes, the Rockies have a great lineup. That’s good enough to win their fair share of games, but they are going to need quality starting pitching on a consistent basis for them to have a winning season. That’s not happening.
With the Rockies, it’s Jeff Francis, Jon Garland and pray for rain. It’s hard to have a winning season that way.
Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio are question marks to round out the rotation.
The Rockies like to think Chacin is an ace after winning 11 games two years ago. They cite his ability to throw strikeouts after throwing 150 strikeouts two years ago.
With that said, he struggled in spring training after he was hit hard with an 8.44 ERA to show for it. His changeup was ineffective. In his final spring training start, he was rocked for 10 hits and six earned runs in five innings. That was against the Athletics’ B team.
It makes one wonder why Chacin is making an Opening Day start against the Brewers. He hasn’t earned it. This was about the organization demonstrating faith that he has what it takes to be an ace, and they hope Chacin can gain confidence from that.
Maybe this works tomorrow afternoon. We’ll see.
Francis should have started Opening Day for the Rockies. He is their best pitcher. He gives them a chance to win by giving out a quality start. He knows how to win games based on his experience for many years.
It’s not only Chacin that is a question mark. The Rockies like to think De La Rosa is their second best starter. Maybe he is, but he is always hurt. Who knows if he can be healthy? He also can let his struggles get the best of him during the course of the game.
Nicasio is not a starting material. Outside of his fastball, he does not have secondary pitches to get hitters out when they face him for the second time in the game. That’s why he does not go deep in games.
He is a reliever at best. It’s remarkable why he is in the rotation. As bad as Drew Pomeranz is, he is better than Nicasio.
It shows how the Rockies feel about Pomeranz’s lack of development for him to not be in the starting rotation over Nicasio.
When looking at the question marks in the starting rotation, it’s easy to ask why the Rockies did not do enough to get a starting pitcher. It shouldn’t take until last week to find a starter, and they found one in Garland after he was released by the Mariners.
The bullpen should be good. Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle, Wilton Lopez and Rafael Betancourt can be relied upon to protect leads late in the game.
The Rockies have a great lineup with Dexter Fowler, Josh Rutledge, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco leading the way. That’s something they don’t have to worry about.
That lineup is so good that Walt Weiss is hoping his team can outscore the other team to win games. That’s a depressing outlook for the first-year Rockies manager. He knows his starting pitching is not good enough for him to say his team will rely on his hitting to win games. He is smart enough to know a baseball team wins games through good starting pitching.
As for Weiss, he will do a fine job as a manager. He will get his team to play for him. His teams will execute well on defense.
That wasn’t the case when Jim Tracy was the Rockies manager in the last few years. Talk about how he got them to the playoffs in 2009, but the players were so fed up with Clint Hurdle that they wanted to prove he was why the team underachieved.
Once Tracy was the full-time manager in 2010, the team quit on him for the last three years. They never executed the fundamentals, and they often approached the game with no sense of urgency.
They hope Weiss can make the team fundamentally sound. They hope he can develop players.
He will do that, but he can’t make miracles out of that awful starting rotation. No manager can. If a pitcher can’t pitch, there’s nothing a manager can do.
It’s remarkable why Weiss wants to manage the Rockies. That said, they are giving him a shot to learn on the job. He’s not going to turn that down. He would love to see what he can do with this team.
The Rockies are good enough to win 74 games at best. If Weiss can get them to do that, he did a good job considering that’s the best he could with a flawed starting rotation.
That’s not good enough for the fans. That’s not good enough for the organization.
It’s about having winning seasons. It’s about playing in the playoffs. It’s about hope.
The Rockies don’t have any of that going for them.
No wonder why the organization and the fans are not excited about what should be another long season.
Maybe one day there will be a reason to be.