Colorado Rockies Manager Walt Weiss Sticking with Reliever Wilton Lopez

By Al Balderas
Jake Roth-USA Today Sports

It’s a manager’s job to do what’s right for his team.

Sometimes that involves thinking about which player to use in certain situations. Sometimes it involves what is best for a particular player. But can a manager think too much?

It sure seemed like Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland did too much thinking last October. I’m not saying the outcome would have been different, but I believe his overthinking led to a sweeping loss to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

That brings us to Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss. I’m not saying that Weiss will have the opportunity to think or overthink in this season’s World Series. The Rockies’ players, despite entering Sunday in a three-way tie for second place in the NL West, will probably be on the golf courses and exotic vacations to faraway places by the time this year’s Fall Classic begins.

But the thought process of Weiss could impact how long the Rockies are relevant this season. This is Weiss’ first season as a Major League manager so mistakes are going to be made. Learning from those mistakes will also be a regular occurrence. One such mistake might repeatedly be thinking too much.

I went online this morning and read what Weiss had to say to who I assume was Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. My guess is Saunders since he wrote Saturday’s game story from San Diego. The Rockies beat the San Diego Padres, 9-5.

Weiss was referring to Wilton Lopez, a Rockies relief pitcher who obviously forgot what relief means. Opposing batters are hitting over .500 against Lopez this season. His ERA is over 12.

Weiss told he Post that he plans to continue to use the less-than-effective (unless you’re on the other team) pitcher.

“I don’t think he’s very far off from getting on a roll,” Weiss told The Post. “Every time I bring him in, I think he’s going to be lights out. So we will play it by ear and use him in the best possible situations to be successful.”

There’s a lot of thinking in there.

Weiss has been right — to a point. Lopez has been, for the most part, lights out. But it’s the Rockies who have been left in the dark.

And now the part that might make Rockies fans cringe.

“But it’s still going to be meaningful innings,” Weiss added.

Everyone out there has his own definition of what “meaningful innings” means, so we can only guess what Weiss meant by that last sentence.

There comes a point when every manager has to decide that more drastic measures need to be taken for the good of the team. For Weiss, it might be a bit more important because people will use these opportunities to draw their own conclusions about what kind of manager Weiss is. There is no track record to look at when someone’s managerial career is entering its 12th game.

Is Weiss doing the right thing? Is he taking the right approach? Should he send Lopez to the minors until he works out his issues?

Perhaps I’m starting to think too much about this. And I’m not even a manager.

I assume that Rockies fans like Weiss and want to see him do well. But I’m sure they’re also hoping that Lopez doesn’t turn out to be Weiss’ Jose Valverde.

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