Tagged: Walt Weiss

Weiss could be managing for his job

Getty Images

Getty Images

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

For Walt Weiss, his first year as a Rockies manager has been up and down.

His best moment came when the Rockies were off to a great start by starting the season at 13-4. Since then, the team is 43-61.

The Rockies’ chances of making the playoffs are remote. The Dodgers are too good to blow an opportunity of winning the NL West, and the runner-up of the NL Central will take the last two wild-card spots.

The best the Rockies can do is having a winning season.

How the Rockies finish will determine if Weiss is back next year. Remember he is on a one-year contract, and there is no guarantee he may want to manage next year. The organization may feel they need to go in a different direction.

The Rockies would prefer not to make another managerial change, so they are hoping the team can finish on a strong note heading to 2014. That’s why these final seven weeks will be interesting to watch.

Weiss knows he has to manage with a sense of urgency if he wants his players to not quit on him. The first-year Rockies manager has come under fire for being passive in the dugout. The breaking point came when he inexplicably did not come out of the dugout to argue on Troy Tulowitzki’s behalf in a game against the Braves on Aug. 1. That certainly rubbed the players the wrong way, especially Tulowitzki.

It was no coincidence the Rockies mailed it in for the rest of the road trip. Weiss sensed it, so he called a meeting with his players before the Rockies started off a six-game homestand. It was a proactive way to get his players’ attention.

Whatever Weiss said, it worked. The Rockies played better baseball on this homestand as they are 4-1 with one game remaining. They have hit much better as they are driving in runs. Prior to last night’s game, the Rockies were hitting .338 while having 49 hits and driving in 33 runs.  They also have pitched better and fielded well.

Weiss has been more animated in this homestand. It was interesting Weiss was arguing couple of calls last night. He even barked at the umpires from the dugout. It made one wonder what someone did to him. It’s rare he shows any emotion.

The rookie manager learned from his mistake of not preventing Tulowitzki from being tossed by being on the field when his star argued about being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Todd Tichenor in the sixth inning last night.

Basically, Weiss told Tulowitzki to stop arguing by arguing on his behalf. It was something the manager had to do, especially when a star player is arguing.

What Weiss did was wrong two weeks ago in Atlanta, and he knows it. It was good he learned from his mistake. The last thing he needs is losing Tulowitzki altogether. He knows his star player was furious that he did not argue on his behalf couple of weeks ago, and he was determined not to do it.

It’s great that he knows what’s at stake. It shouldn’t take middle of August to be proactive, but better late than never.

The Rockies have a pulse still, and that’s encouraging. It means they haven’t given up on Weiss and themselves for the time being.

The true test will come on this 10-game road trip that starts this weekend. The Rockies have to be at least 6-4 on this trip, so that it would show the guys haven’t quit. No one is going to get excited about brief homestand, and understandably so.

The Rockies need to win series after series the rest of the season for this season to be successful. With the talent they have , they can still have a winning season. That’s what they should shoot for. It’s up to Weiss to get his players ready to play. His job is depending on it.

If the Rockies do not finish strong, there is a good chance Weiss will quit. He does not need the grind of managing a MLB team when he can find a soft landing in managing a high school team. That’s something people forget. Who knows if Weiss is having a good time managing? He took the job, so that he can get an opportunity to see if he is a Major League manager material.

His true test comes now. His future depends on how his players respond to him for the next seven weeks.

Contact me or follow me on Twitter: @TalkinRockies

About time Rockies play with pride

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Where was this the last few weeks?

The Rockies swept the Pirates by earning a 3-2 victory yesterday afternoon. They earned the sweep by executing in all facets of the game this weekend. They hit, pitch and field well. That’s something they have hard time doing since May.

It was refreshing to watch. That’s the type of product the Rockies should be delivering when they are playing.

It was a different Rockies team.  They played with a sense of purpose. It seemed like they played well with no pressure on them now that they are out of the division race and wild-card race. This is about players playing for themselves.

The players know they are going to take the blame if the Rockies have another losing season. It was easy to blame Jim Tracy last year since he couldn’t manage at all. As bad as Walt Weiss has done as a manager, he can’t be the only one that is taking the blame this year.

The problem with the Rockies is not about the lack of talent. It’s about guys that don’t know how to win. It seems they don’t do well when the pressure is on. It shouldn’t take the second week of August for them to put everything together when they are 13 games out of first place. This doesn’t speak well of their star players when they can’t do well when the pressure is on.

Make no mistake. This is about the players saving their reputation. They want to show management they are the solution for the Rockies as the franchise moves forward. They don’t want to be everything that is wrong about the Rockies.

The Rockies can talk about being in the division race and the wild-card race, but they know better. The Dodgers are too good to blow their lead in the NL West, and the Rockies are not good enough to go on a tear like the Royals are doing by winning 16 of their 19 games or the Dodgers winning 37 of their last 45 games.

The problem with the Rockies is they are inconsistent when it comes to their hitting. They also can’t win on the road. It’s hard to be a playoff team that way.

This is not about the Rockies making the playoffs now. This is about finishing with a winning record. That’s a reasonable goal for this team to have after finishing last season with 98 losses.

For some fans, finishing the season strong does not mean much. It’s about playoffs or bust. That’s how fans view success in four of the main professional sports.

It means more for the players after what they experienced last season by enduring so many losses for the final months of the season. They want to feel good about themselves in the offseason. It’s understandable why they would think differently than the fans. They don’t want to be miserable by enduring losses game after game. It was a depressing feeling last year for them. That’s why they have so much to play for in the final seven weeks of the season.

This weekend was a good start for the Rockies. Now, they have to sustain this. That’s been a problem all year. It’s about time they had more than a five-game winning streak.

If they can finish August strong, they can be interesting to watch next month.

Rockies fans will settle for winning baseball by their team for the final two months. That’s the only thing they got going the rest of the way.

It’s imperative the Rockies are not mailing it in like they have done the last two years at this part of the season, and that’s why this weekend had some meaning.

This weekend was a relief for the players. They did not have to answer questions about why they are playing bad. Instead, they can talk about how good they can be and how they still have time to make a run. They can feel good about themselves heading to the next series. That’s the type of feeling they need to experience.

Losing takes a toll on the guys in the end. They work so hard all season to mail it in. That’s why there is incentive to finish the season strong.

Playing for pride may not mean much for the average fan, but it certainly is for the Rockies.

That itself is why this weekend was encouraging.

They may not play for Weiss, but they are certainly playing for themselves.

What we learned this weekend is the Rockies still have a pulse based on their sweep against a good Pirates team.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Rockies should stop with pitch count limit

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies do many things that make it easy for anyone to complain.

They hired a rookie manager who does not make decisions in Walt Weiss.

They create a roster that features too many nice guys that show no emotion.

They are at it again by instituting this stupid pitch count rule for their starters, which they can’t go past 100 pitches no matter how much of a groove they are in during the game or if they pitch well for seven or eight innings.

This comes after they came up with a rule last year about the starters not going past 75 pitches. That rule came as a way for the starters to be in a position to succeed.

That didn’t work out in the end. The starters struggled, and the Rockies continued to lose games. In the end, Jim Tracy decided to resign as Rockies manager rather than taking orders by the organization on managing a ballgame.

Not many managers want to be told how a team should be managed by Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd, but first-year Rockies manager Walt Weiss was okay with it. He’s only doing it, so that he can gain experience of being a manager in the majors.

How else can one explain Weiss not letting his starters go past 99 pitches?

Jhoulys Chacin’s night was done after he threw 98 pitches in the seventh inning last night in the Rockies’ 4-2 loss to the Marlins at Coors Field. While it’s great he pitched seven innings last night, he could have gone one more inning.

Weiss used Josh Outman in the eighth inning with the Marlins holding on to a 3-2 lead , and to no one’s surprise, the Rockies middle reliever’s night was over after he gave up a home run to Giancarlo Stanton and a hit to Logan Morrison.  The game was over for all intents and purposes, too.

This whole pitch count is stupid, and it’s time for the Rockies to abolish that rule about a starter being done after 99 pitches.

Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin are good enough to pitch past 100 pitches and throw for seven or eight innings. It’s not like they are Juan Nicasio, who tends to struggle in the middle innings.

The Rockies are making them look like wimps by not going deep in games. It’s a good bet those guys are not happy about going past 100 pitches. These guys have pride, and they want to pitch seven or eight innings a start. If they throw 98 pitches in the seventh inning, they would love to go for a complete game.

No starter likes to be taken out of a game, especially if he is having a great night.

The rule makes sense if the Rockies have mediocre starters, but they don’t.

The problem with having starters go on a pitch count is the relievers such as Edgmer Escalona, Wilton Lopez , Adam Ottavino and Outman get hit by being used everyday. There’s no way Weiss would use Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers in the seventh and eighth inning respectively unless the Rockies take a lead or if the game is tied late.

It does not make sense to keep destroying the arms of middle relievers. Escalona and Ottavino could develop into good relievers for years to come if they are used properly, but if they pitch every game, their arm will be burned out.

No one is saying the starters should throw 120 pitches a start. That’s stupidity, especially if these guys are tired by then.

That said, no Rockie starter is going to fail by going past 99 pitches unless his name is Nicasio or Drew Pomearnz.

Starters become good the more they go deep in games. Their confidence is at an all-time high when they go eight or nine innings. It should be a good thing if De La Rosa, Chatwood and Chacin throw at least 110 pitches per start if the situation dictates it.

Too many times, teams are fixated with pitch counts. It’s hard to understand why.

Sure, teams worry about starters getting hurt, but they can get hurt even with a limit on their pitch counts. There’s no magic potion in keeping a starter healthy other than praying he is not hurt.

With the Rockies, they are worried about their starters failing once they get past 99 pitches. Their starting pitching deserves credit than that.

It would be nice if Weiss would rebel by keeping Chatwood, De La Rosa and Chacin on the mound once they get past 99 pitches, but that’s not his nature. He is going to go by what the organization tells him to do, so that he can stay on as a Rockies manager and get his managerial experience.

It’s hard to believe the rookie manager likes this idea.

What can he do if the organization is stubborn about this stupid pitch count philosophy?

The Rockies can talk about how it’s working with De La Rosa, Chatwood and Chacin being effective this season, but one has to think it’s because those three are competent starters, not because they go past 99 pitches.

It’s ridiculous why the Rockies do this, but then again, it’s hard to figure out what they do when it comes to operating a baseball team.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Bullpen showing signs of being overworked

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Rockies should savor this win against their tormentors

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

A game-tying hit.

A grand slam.

An insurance run.

A diving catch.

Striking out the side to get a save.

Those five moments stood out in last night’s Rockies’ 10-9 victory over the Giants at Coors Field.

It was only significant since this played a role in the Rockies snapping a 10-game losing streak to the Giants.

A win against the Giants never felt this good for the Rockies.

Make no mistake. The Rockies almost blew another lead after blowing the first lead of the game, and they were in danger of losing to the Giants for the second straight night. With the errors and wild pitches, it’s clear the Rockies were feeling the pressure to get that win.

A 10-game losing streak to the Giants can wear on the Rockies along with going 9-31 since 2011. The losses and the questions of when will it end take its toll after awhile.

The Giants were relentless throughout the game. With that said, the Rockies found a way to respond, and they should be commended for it.

After the NL West division leaders took a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning, the Rockies created a big inning by scoring five runs in the fifth inning.

Dexter Fowler singled to start the fifth inning, and Carlos Gonzalez walked after that. Wilin Rosario’s RBI single tied the game at 5 as Fowler scored.

When D.J. Lemhaieu walked to load the bases, Jordan Pacheco hit a grand slam to give the Rockies a 9-5 lead over the Giants.

The crowd applauded, and the entire Rockies bench was fired up with Pacheco receiving a bear hug by Rosario.

The Rockies needed that. They wilt when the Giants regains the lead everytime it happens, so on this night, it was refreshing to see the home team was not going to back down on this night.

The grand slam gave the Rockies a new start in the middle of the game. They knew they can get back at the Giants.

Despite what the Rockies did, the Giants were not going to quit on this night. It is never over until the 27th out is made.

That’s why Gonzalez’s home run was huge in the sixth inning when that home run extended the Rockies’ lead to 10-5. It was a much needed insurance run.

Insurance runs are always a must for an opponent playing against the Giants.

It’s a good thing the Rockies had one. The Giants continued their assault on the Rockies by scoring three runs in the seventh inning, and they cut their deficit to 10-8. In the process, they got to reliable Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona.

Escalona walked Buster Posey to start the seventh, and Hunter Pence tripled that sent Posey home for the Giants’s first run of the seventh inning.

Then, Escalona threw a pitch that Rosario could not hold on to, and Pence scored to give the Giants their second run of the seventh inning.

From there, Escalona expressed his frustration by gesturing at Rosario.

After Brett Pill hit a double off Escalona, Rockies manager Walt Weiss made a pitching change with no outs in the inning. He had to as his reliever was not into the game after the Giants scored runs off him.

Joaquin Arias hit a single off Rex Brothers to have Pill scored the Giants’ third run in the inning.

Unlike Escalona, Brothers shook off the hit and got the last three outs by striking out Brandon Crawford, getting Gregor Blanco to ground out and having Angel Pagan to line out.

Brothers received an assist by Fowler who made a diving catch to end the inning. If the Rockies centerfielder does not hold on to the ball, it would have been a 10-9 game. The game may have been tied if the inning continued.

Fowler’s catch was the turning point of the game.

This is how to step up and put a stop to it when another team creates a big inning by getting outs and making defensive plays.

The Giants kept it going in the eighth inning when Posey hit a two-out solo home run off Matt Belisle. It was now a 10-9 game. What? You expected Giants to quit?

With Pence hitting a double, he was the tying run.

Pressure was on Belisle to get the last out, and he found a way by getting Pill to ground out.

The Rockies needed three outs to get this win.

Rafael Betancourt is reliable as a closer with nine saves and no blown save to show for it prior to last night’s game, but it wasn’t going to be easy with the way the Giants were scoring in this contest.

The Rockies closer handled the inning with ease by striking out the side.

Talk about an exclamation mark to end the game and end the losing streak against the Giants for the Rockies.

It was a symbol that the Giants were not going to deny the Rockies a win.

For one night, the Rockies did not have to answer the media’s questions about another loss to the Giants. It was a welcome relief.

Winning a game against the Giants meant something. They could have lost another one. Instead, they preserved whenever the Giants were cutting deficits. They found a way to get a key hit, key outs, key strikeouts and a key play.

The Rockies learned something about themselves for one night. They know they can do something about putting a stop to what the Giants are doing.

That’s what makes this win against the Giants more special than others.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Struggles put spotlight on Weiss

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

(JACK DEMPSEY/AP)

(JACK DEMPSEY/AP)

No one said managing the Rockies would be easy.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss knew what he signed up for when he took the managerial job in November.

Weiss has done a good job of managing the Rockies overall, but with the team struggling by losing five of six games and 14  of 21 games after a 9-1 loss to the Cubs last night at Wrigley Field, the first-year Rockies manager is being tested in getting his team out of their funk.

It hasn’t been pretty at all.

The hitting has been atrocious during this period. They have batted .209 in the last 10 games, and they have batted .223 in May.

The Rockies were almost no-hit twice this weekend by Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright when they were playing the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. As good as Miller and Wainwright are, the team shouldn’t be in a position to be no-hit by anyone.

The Rockies only had three hits last night against the Cubs, and they only mustered two hits off Cubs starter Travis Wood.

Basically, it was another night of bad at-bats by the team. Everyone is struggling.

At least, the pitching has been good, but that’s what makes this frustrating. The Rockies are not known for their pitching, so when they are getting quality starts, the onus is on the hitters to produce and give the starters run support to work with.

The hitters are on a funk mentally. They expect to fail when they are at the plate based on their recent struggles.

The losing and the hitters struggling at the point have put the focus on Weiss.

It’s on him to get his hitters out of their funk.

He either has to change the lineup or give some guys a breather.

Weiss made one move by benching Dexter Fowler last night after being mired in a 2-for-26 slump. It’s something Weiss has to do after his centerfielder has been hacking at every pitch rather than being disciplined at the plate.

The day off could get Fowler to think and get his mind off his struggles. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if he did not play tonight, but it’s hard to believe the manager is going to bench his player for the second straight game.

This is a start, but Weiss has to do more. One thing he has to do is change the batting order in the starting lineup.

That can be the only solution to jumpstart an offense that can’t find its own way.

Carlos Gonzalez has to bat sixth. He is killing any momentum by striking out to end the inning when he bats third. He has been horrible as of late by batting .143 and striking out seven times. By batting sixth, this would ease pressure off him.

Give Rosario a shot in the cleanup spot, and let’s see what he can do. What’s there to lose? With Weiss showing he has trust with his catcher hitting fourth, this would give him confidence.

Have Josh Rutledge bat third. He is one guy that can drive in the tablesetters in Fowler and Eric Young Jr. He can’t be worse than the struggling Gonzalez. He is the only one that is hitting.

If Troy Tulowitzki continues to be affected with his legs, it’s time for him to be on the disabled list. He’s not doing the Rockies favors by playing hurt. Yes, he hit a three-run home run against the Cardinals on Sunday, but something doesn’t seem right. His batting stance is affected with his leg being hurt.

Something has to give with the lineup.

Weiss will have to tell his young players to keep their spirits up. Right now, they need assurance from their manager that they have the talent to win games. It’s easy for players to doubt themselves when things go bad. They think too much and it affects them on the field as they go on a rut.

Being a former player, Weiss can relate to his players’ struggles. He has to share his wisdom to them in finding a way to get out of their funk. In other words, he has to be a confidence builder.

The manager also can’t let this funk get out of hand. He has to be firm and hold these guys accountable when it’s time. That might be the case with the way things are going for the Rockies. The last thing his players need is getting used to losing as they did under former Rockies manager Jim Tracy. This would not reflect well on the first-year Rockies manager if that’s the case.

There’s so much to like about Weiss. He had his team being fundamentally sound on defense since spring training. He has learned how to manage by using the right pitchers in the right spot and taking starters out when it’s time. He has had his team playing for him, and it showed by them getting off to a good start in April.

It’s easy when things go well, but it gets hard when the going gets tough.

This is where we learn about Weiss. Does he have the credibility to handle his team’s funk?

He has to find a way to get his players back on track, and he has to find a way to lead in tough times.

How he handles his first crisis as a manager will go a long way towards what he does as a Rockies manager for a long time.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.

Rockies can always count on Belisle for relief

(Barry Gutierrez/AP)

(Barry Gutierrez/AP)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The bullpen is a strength for the Rockies in this young season.

Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, Adam Ottavino, Edgmer Escalona and Rafael Betancourt are part of the relief corps that gets the job done for the Rockies when they are called to pitch.

Belisle stands out the most of all the relievers pitching for the Rockies.

He is off to a great start by striking out 13 hitters and walking four batters in 11 relief appearances. His ERA is at 2.70 after making an appearance last night in the Rockies’ 6-3 victory over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

The seventh inning is always the most precious inning for a pitcher. Either a starter is going deep in protecting a lead or a reliever is out there to protect a lead and build a bridge to the setup man and a closer.

With the Rockies, Belisle has the responsibility of protecting the lead in the seventh inning more times than not. It’s rare that a Rockies starter pitches past the fifth or sixth inning.

If Belisle does not get the job done, Brothers and Betancourt does not have the opportunity to close it out when it is their turn to pitch.

Either a team makes a rally or they fall apart in the seventh inning. Belisle’s responsibility is to prevent another team from gaining momentum.

Belisle has done a great job of throwing shutdown innings for the most part. His only blemish occurred on April 9 when he couldn’t protect a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning as the Giants tied it. He took the loss when the Giants took a 7-6 lead in that same game.

The Rockies trust Belisle nine out of 10 times when they have him out there.

It’s easy to understand why when he got out of a bases-loaded jam last night in the seventh inning by getting Martin Prado out on a pop-up and striking out Paul Goldschmidt.

This is what he does. He gets outs through strikeouts. He uses his fastball and slider to get hitters off-balance, and he has success with it.

The 32-year old reliever has been doing this for the Rockies since 2009. He has pitched 244 innings of relief for the last three years. He made 80 appearances last year, which was a franchise record for a reliever.

It’s surprising his arm hasn’t worn off. Most relievers tend to break down after making many appearances for several years. They don’t make guys like Belisle anymore.

The one thing about Belisle is that he relishes having the ball on a daily basis. He never wants a day off. He is a guy that gets after it.  That attitude has served him well, and that explains why he is effective. It helps he has the stuff to be effective every time, too.

For him to make 11 appearances already in April, it shows the team is winning and that he is pitching with the Rockies leading in most of the games.

It’s always a great sight when Belisle pitches. He can be counted on to throw zeroes on the scoreboard.

Middle-inning relievers are always taken for granted for unknown reasons.

The setup guys and closers are only guys that stand out with the fans since they are protecting leads in the eighth and ninth inning. Six outs are hard to come by, and those guys are going to be under scrutiny when it comes to closing it out.

While that’s a hard job, it shouldn’t diminish what a seventh inning guy does.

Before the setup guy and the closer are out there, the seventh inning guy has to protect a lead for both to do their thing.

The Rockies can put the game away by the seventh inning with Belisle out there. It’s a good feeling for Rockies manager Walt Weiss since he knows he can trust Brothers to get three outs in the eighth and Betancourt to close the game.

What the Rockies have to hope is Belisle does not wear down late in the year. It’s on Weiss to discern when his seventh inning guy needs a day off.

The Rockies have a nice bullpen depth. Weiss can use Escalona or Ottavino to fill in for Belisle on his day off. By using other relievers, it will keep the Rockies’ 7th inning guy fresh for six months.

Belisle was worn down late last season after then-Rockies manager Jim Tracy overused him for the first few months of the year.

This can’t happen again, especially if the Rockies want to contend for a playoff spot this year.

Belisle is valuable for the Rockies. He is the glue that makes this relief corps based on his ability to be reliable and pitch everyday.

That’s why he stands out the most.

When it comes to most valuable Rockies pitcher, it’s Belisle and no one comes close.

Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.