Colorado Rockies' Identity Search: Contenders or Pretenders?

By Jim Heath
Juan Nicasio Colorado Rockies
Juan Nicasio Colorado Rockies

If frustration and inconsistency had a face, it would have to be that of the Colorado Rockies.

How a team can resemble NL West Division contenders one day and Walter Matthau’s “Bad News Bears” the next is beyond me. Maybe, it’s time to quit over looking the obvious holes in this Jekyll and Hyde group.

First, Juan Nicasio is not pitching consistently enough to be a part of the Rockies starting rotation – period. Sure, manager Walt Weiss bought some time using veteran Yorvit Torrealba to help the young right-hander, but it’s officially time to abort the experiment.

Clearly, it has failed. Nicasio has failed to last through six innings in his last two starts, and the Houston Astros lit him up like a Christmas tree on Thursday — the Astros!

The Rockies’ starting rotation has to be revamped. There isn’t enough logic to convince me (or much of the Rocky Mountain country for that matter) that Jeff Francis, Jon Garland and Nicasio should remain in the starting rotation when Francis returns from the DL.

Sending Tyler Chatwood back to Colorado Springs simply wouldn’t make sense, and exactly what message is being sent to the Rockies’ players and fans if that happened?

Inconsistencies in the starting rotation is beginning to impact the bullpen, and that would be the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back this season if the bullpen came unwound. Much of the Rockies successes have to be attributed to their solid bullpen thus far in 2013.

Simply keeping Chatwood in the starting rotation may not be enough. Roy Oswalt is trying to climb his way to the show, and young lefty Drew Pomeranz is pitching up a storm for Colorado Springs this year – when is it his time? Because the time of getting only five inning outings out of a starter is starting to takes its toll.

Plus, the Rockies must start capitalizing on opportunities. The Astros all but gift-wrapped the game Thursday with walked batters, hit batsmen and four errors in only three innings of play — Colorado simply didn’t take it.

Most importantly, who are the Blake Street crew in 2013? Are they the team we watched versus the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks? Or are they the team we just watched struggle with the Astros?

The Rockies really blew an opportunity. Four games versus a young rebuilding and struggling Astros team, and the Rockies managed to win just one out of four — that has to be the deepest cut yet.

And yet, here we are a handful of days away from June, a third of the way through the season, and the Rockies remain within striking distance of the NL West lead despite several stretches of forgettable play.

To remain there, it’s gut check time. Tough decisions and impact changes are needed to salvage the season. Will that happen? Or should fans simply celebrate an overachieving team with upside, but no realistic chance at a postseason game in 2013?

Jim Heath is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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