BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
In the offseason, the Rockies searched for a veteran starter that would provide stability in the starting rotation by winning and doling out quality starts every fifth day.
They explored all avenues until they settled on Jon Garland to be that guy by signing him in the middle of spring training after the Mariners released him. They thought he would be the guy.
So much for that.
With Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz waiting to be called up from the minors, Garland could be losing his spot in the starting rotation after he struggled again in the Rockies’ 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks last night at Coors Field.
Garland gave up five runs on 11 hits in six innings as he took the loss. He had a hard time finding the location of the strike zone. He was giving up hits in every inning with the exception of the first inning.
This has been typical of him lately. He has struggled in his last four starts, and his ERA is 5.19 after last night’s horrible outing.
This is not what the Rockies envisioned when they signed him.
It is surprising Garland has struggled lately. He always had a good command when he is out on the mound. He is a wily veteran that knows how to pitch out of jams.
It was why the Rockies thought he was a good fit.
They also thought Garland’s sinker would be effective at Coors Field.
That hasn’t been the case lately. He is not getting the groundouts that would help him be effective.
Garland came up with an excuse in his start against the Cubs last week. He cited that it’s hard to be effective when he is on an innings limit. The Rockies take their starters out once they hit 100 pitches.
Garland feels that he has to think about throwing eight to 10 pitches rather than go out and be aggressive. He worries about pitch count rather than pitching on the mound.
That’s what pitchers say when they are frustrated. They come up with excuses for their struggles.
Garland’s job is to find the right spots to throw strikes. He is not getting it done. It’s surprising he did not blame Wilin Rosario for his control problems after throwing several wild pitches last night.
Garland can’t be making excuses in this situation. He has to pitch better, and he has to find his location.
Maybe it’s a mechanics issue with him. Something is not right.
The Rockies and Garland have to hope this is a bad stretch and nothing more.
They are going to give him a chance to figure it out. He has done enough to earn an opportunity to straighten the kinks.
Still, this is a result-oriented business.
If the Rockies can find someone else that can do better, that’s what they are going to do.
The problem is Pomeranz and Oswalt are no better.
Pomeranz has the potential to be an effective starter, but it remains to be seen if he has it in him to be a good pitcher at Coors Field.
Oswalt is washed up. He struggled in the last two years. For the Rockies to think he will be effective now, that’s laughable.
Tyler Chatwood could be a mainstay in the rotation if he pitches well, but he is a question mark. He has struggled to find his niche as a starter in the majors. He has a hard time finding the right location to pitch.
The Rockies have to hope Garland can get it together if they are going to win ballgames.
He is capable of pitching better. He showed that in April. There’s no reason to think he will fall apart altogether.
Keep in mind Garland hasn’t pitch last year, so he was going to have his down period this year.
The Rockies don’t have time to wait. They feel they have the right personnel to be a playoff team. They are going to do what it takes to win ballgames.
It’s hard to argue about their decision.
Garland is pitching for his job, and it wouldn’t be surprising if his next start is his last.
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