Changes must be made in Rockies’ starting rotation

 (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies’ starting rotation was off to a great start to the season.

The starters gave the Rockies a chance to win by performing quality starts. That was why the Rockies were off to a 13-4 start in April.

Since then, they have been mediocre at best with the exception of Jorge De La Rosa, who is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA.

That is not going to cut it if the Rockies want to be a playoff team.

That’s why there is going to be several changes in the starting rotation.

It’s a move the Rockies have to make if they are going to win ballgames.

The first move was done last night when the Rockies designated Jon Garland for assignment. That move came to make room for Jeff Francis after he was activated from the disabled list.

Garland struggled since May by losing five straight games. His ERA ballooned to 5.82, and he had a 6.81 ERA over his last seven starts.  He was 4-6 after 12 starts.

He struggled to find his location, and he was constantly behind the count often.  He couldn’t get groundouts. He was a good bet to give up 7 hits at least when he was starting. He had a hard time retiring guys in order.

The Rockies hoped he would straighten himself out, but it never happened. They couldn’t justify keeping him in the rotation anymore.

The Rockies are disappointed it did not work out. They were hoping Garland would give them innings, quality starts and victories. They thought he would be a veteran that would create stability in the rotation.

They tried hard to get a starter in the offseason, but that did not materialize.

They signed Garland as a free agent after the Mariners released him in spring training. They liked what they saw from him when he went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts. He held the opposition to three runs on 10 hits with five walks and four strikeouts over 12 innings.

It was a good signing at the time, and he was off to a good start in April. Everything fell apart unfortunately, so the Rockies will move on.

With the way Tyler Chatwood pitched since his callup by going 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA in six starts, the Rockies found their replacement for Garland.

There are going to be more changes to come.

Francis is on the verge of losing his role in the rotation.

He had the pressure of holding on to his job after being activated from the disabled list. That’s a tough position to be, but that’s the way it goes in professional sports. He knows it.

Francis struggled last night.

He gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, and he walked three. He finished the game by throwing 93 pitches in four innings.

To be fair to Francis, it was going to take time for him to get back on track after missing time with a left groin strain.

With Roy Oswalt pitching well at Double-A Tulsa, it is going to be a matter of time until he gets called up.

This leaves no room for error for Francis, who has not pitched well before he was designated on the disabled list.

The Rockies can’t keep Francis in the rotation when he has a 6.30 ERA in 9 games. He can’t be on the rotation when he can only pitch for four or five innings at best. He is useless if he is struggling to face batters second time around.

Drew Pomeranz will be called up soon. With him pitching well at 7-1 in the 12 games he pitched at Colorado Springs, the organization feels he is ready to step up in the starting rotation.

Considering how awful Jhoulys Chacin has pitched, Pomeranz is the right guy to replace him.

They can’t justify keeping Chacin in the rotation if he continues to struggle.

Chacin can’t protect leads, and he struggles to get hitters out once he faces them for the second time in the game.

Chacin is 3-3 in 11 games with a 4.59 ERA, and he has given up a combined 10 runs and 16 hits in his last two starts. He hasn’t gotten guys out on strikeouts much this year, either.

The Rockies thought he could be their ace, but results say differently.

Chacin could be another guy losing his gig.

Juan Nicasio hasn’t been great shakes, but at least, he finds a way to win and get out of jams. He gives the Rockies a better chance to win than Chacin.

Who knows what Chatwood, Oswalt and Pomeranz can do?

As good as Chatwood has been, it remains to be seen is he can sustain his good performance for months.

He is the Rockies’ second best pitcher, but that’s not saying much. He still has something to prove.

Oswalt has not pitched well in recent years, so the Rockies are going on a limb with him. It’s hard to believe he can do much.

Pomeranz has the potential to be a good pitcher, but he has to show he has the mindset to pitch in the altitude.

Despite doubts about those guys, the Rockies should give them a chance to show what they can do.

They saw what Garland, Francis and Chacin can do. The results have not been pretty.

It’s time to try something new.

Everyone knew the Rockies’ starting rotation was a question mark to start the season.

The organization knew they were going to make changes with their rotation as the season went on.

That time has come.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

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