BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
It’s a problem when the Rockies’ starters don’t go deep in games.
The bullpen is getting overworked as a result, and it is starting to show in recent games.
Wilton Lopez could not protect a lead in the seventh inning last night, and as a result, the Rockies went on to take an 8-7 loss to the Phillies at Coors Field.
There’s no question Lopez was bad. He gave up a two-run triple to Freddy Galvis that tied the game at 7, and he gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins that scored Galvis from third to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead.
With that said, Lopez is not going to be perfect all the time. No reliever is. Not many relievers can be Rex Brothers and pitch well every game.
Blaming Lopez is missing the point of what’s going on.
The Rockies can’t find starters who can give the bullpen a night off, and that’s a problem moving forward.
If the relievers continue to be overworked, they are going to blow more games like last night.
Weiss did not want to use Lopez last night, but he had to after Juan Nicasio could not throw a zero on the scoreboard with a 7-2 lead in the sixth inning.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss hoped Nicasio would throw six innings last night. Despite his starter’s struggles in the sixth inning, he was hoping his starter would somehow get through the inning by getting out of jams. He got the first two outs, but he struggled to get the last out of that inning, so he was relieved before he blew a 7-2 lead altogether.
For Nicasio to not pitch through a 7-2 lead in the sixth inning, it shows he can’t be trusted to pitch in the sixth inning ever no matter how good he is pitching. Hitters figure him out, and he does not have other secondary pitchers to get hitters out for the second or third time.
Nicasio gave up three runs in that sixth inning, and that set the tone for the Phillies to make a comeback in the seventh inning.
If Nicasio pitched at least seven innings, Weiss could have brought Matt Belisle and Brothers to protect the lead.
It’s something he hoped to see from Nicasio and other starters often, but that’s never going to happen.
Outside of De La Rosa, no starter can go seven innings. This is a recipe for failure. It takes a toll on the relievers as their arm deals with the wear and tear.
It’s no coincidence Lopez, Josh Outman, Matt Belisle and Edgmer Escalona have struggled to get guys out late as a result of making too many appearances.
This is why everyone wonders if the Rockies can sustain their good play for the entire season. It’s hard to believe the relievers can be effective by August and September with the way things are going for them right now.
The Rockies have to hope Tyler Chatwood can go seven innings today and beyond. If he can do that, that will help the Rockies bullpen.
It can’t just be him, though. It has to be couple of other starters, and that’s why there has to be changes in the starting rotation. The Rockies need to find couple of other starters that can win and go deep in games.
They hope it’s Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz when the Rockies call them up.
Oswalt is a question mark, though. He has been ineffective in the last two years, and it’s hard to believe he can go deep in games anymore. The Rockies are desperate to hope he can get the job done.
Pomeranz has the stuff to be a dominating starter, but he needs to have the proper mindset to believe he can succeed. They have to hope he has it in him to be an innings eater when he is out there.
If Chatwood, Oswalt and Pomeranz can be effective by giving quality starts and throwing seven innings, the bullpen should be okay to pitch for the final two months of the season.
That’s what the Rockies are hoping for.
If that does not work, this team will not be making any playoff run.
The Rockies need to get better in the rotation or else we are going to see more bad performances from the relievers as a result of them being used often.
The organization knows they have to do something about it.
They have to hope changes in the rotation can save the bullpen from being exposed of overwork.
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