We Hope You're a Fan of the Rockies' Bullpen

We Hope You're a Fan of the Rockies' Bullpen
June 20, 2012, 8:32 am
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Because you're going to be seeing a whole lot of it.

For those of you who missed it on the broadcast last night, the Colorado Rockies, now 16 games below .500, have such limited starting pitching depth that they have opted to go with a four-man rotation for the foreseeable future.

Of course, this is nothing like four-man rotations of old when guys simply pitched as far as they could make it every fourth day. Instead, the Rockies' "starters" are on strict 75-pitch counts, that would ideally get the club through about five innings of work.

The Denver Post explains the impetus behind the most irregular move:

This decision stems from [Jeremy] Guthrie's failures, a sinking rotation — the starters own a league-abyss 6.31 ERA following a 7-2 loss to the Phillies, the 11th in 12 games — and a desire to spread out innings over multiple long relievers. The relievers own a 4.06 ERA, while working a breathtaking 237 ⅔ innings.

"I felt we had to do something non-conventional," said [Rockies manager Jim] Tracy of his beleaguered pitching staff that includes a reliever, Josh Roenicke, who has thrown nearly as many innings (41) as every member of the current rotation. "I was given the opportunity to tweak this. We are going to see what transpires as we move forward."

For background, Guthrie is the owner of a 4.27 career ERA as a starter, but has seen that figure balloon above 7.00 this season and has been consequently moved to the bullpen.

Last night -- lucky for the Phils, who could use some favorable pitching matchups to rebuild some confidence -- was the first attempt at the 75-pitch limit, with former Phils prospect Josh Outman serving as the guinea pig. He allowed four runs on five hits through 72 pitches in 4 1/3 innings of work before the Phillies would later hang another three on reliever Adam Ottovino in the seventh, courtesy a Hunter Pence groundout to score Cole Hamels and a Carlos Ruiz two-run drive to left.

Tracy insists that even if his pitcher is throwing a shutout through five, he'll have to come out of the game, because "he has to pitch four days later."

Second-year pitcher Alex White, a 23-year-old with a 2-5 record and a 5.56 ERA in eight starts this season, was asked what he thought of the new arrangement. Said White:

"I don't want to talk about it. I have to start (today),"

Nice.

Link:
>>Reeling Rockies go with unconventional four-man rotation [Denver Post]

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