What is going on?
A simple question, not a rhetorical one meant as a greeting.
Baseball fans around the globe asked this to anyone who would listen when viewing the 25-1 final score of Saturday night’s Colorado Rockies game.
It was the worst loss in what is supposed to be the club’s celebratory 30th anniversary, eclipsing a 26-7 defeat to the Chicago Cubs in 1995. Actually, it could have been a much worse result for the 45,274 in attendance.
Fly ball gets lost in the lights between Doyle and Grichuk, dropping in for a hit and scoring another run.
It’s 18-0 and it’s only the fourth inning.
Rockies fans are not pleased. pic.twitter.com/V9R1Hqk9AU
— Patrick Lyons (@PatrickDLyons) June 25, 2023
On another night at Coors Field in ‘95, they suffered a 17-0 loss to the Florida Marlins for the worst shutout in franchise history. At one point, the Los Angeles Angels led 23-0 in the fourth inning and, later, 25-0 in the eighth before Brenton Doyle’s solo home run removed the 2023 Rockies from another piece of unfortunate history.
So, what’s next for a team who gave up back-to-back-to-back home runs on three consecutive pitches?
Trade Them All
Minutes after the 24-run beating by Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and company, GM Bill Schmidt traded veteran INF Mike Moustakas to the opposing clubhouse. In return, Colorado received RHP Connor Van Scoyoc from the Angels.
Moustakas was a non-roster invite to Spring Training and made the club as a left-handed hitting veteran presence off the bench. The 34-year-old quickly made an impact on a roster looking for stability, batting .270 with four home runs and 17 RBI over 47 games.
Van Scoyoc is a 23-year-old who was drafted by the Halos in the 11th round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 11 starts at High-A, he is 4-3 with a 2.76 ERA (62.0 IP, 19 ER).
A total of six players on the Rockies’ 40-man roster will become a free agent at the end of the season and two others have a team option for 2024, while RHP Daniel Bard and C Elias Díaz are under contract through the end of next season.
Rockies' comeback win over the Angels on Friday night was courtesy of an Elias Díaz grand slam in the eighth inning.
Colorado will need 7 grand slams if they plan on winning this one on Saturday night.
— DNVR Rockies (@DNVR_Rockies) June 25, 2023
For a team at 30-49 (.380) and currently on pace for a franchise-first 100 losses, winning more games in 2023 and 2024 should no longer be the priority it’s been over the previous four losing campaigns. Inactivity at the previous two trade deadlines contributed to the current lack of depth and if the club wants to focus on getting back to the postseason in the near future, punting on the present can help this pursuit.
Call Them Up
We’ve already seen debuts from Colorado prospects such as Doyle, Riley Pint, Karl Kauffmann, Blair Calvo, Coco Montes and Connor Kaiser. Several more at Triple-A Albuquerque and Double-A Hartford would like to join this list.
The Rockies still may not know what they’ve got over the final three months of the season, but opportunities — especially consistent playing time — need to be handed out to anyone that could be a part of the next contender.
With 12 Rockies currently on the injured list and several of those veteran players used to regular starts, there could be a squeeze on doling out innings and plate appearances to the likes of Nolan Jones, Elehuris Montero and Noah Davis, young player who have all spent various spells stuck in Triple-A or relegated to a place on a wooden bench with little to gain.
Michael Toglia, expected to be called up for Sunday’s 1:10pm game, may have more strikeout in his game than is preferential, but his stellar defense may more than make up for the offensive deficiencies. Why not give him regular at-bats and allow Montero time at designated hitter when Toglia is at first base?
Try It All
We may not be ready to go back to the piggybacking plan of 2013 or the use of an opener, a reliever who starts the game and pitches an inning or two before the actual starter comes in for 5-6 frames of work, but Colorado needs to figure out exactly how to shake things up. And that needs to go beyond the starting lineup.
Being more aggressive on the trade front would qualify. Instead of the basic big leaguer for prospect (and vice versa) kind of deal, an old-school baseball swap of equally talented players could solve a few issues. The Jazz Chisholm Jr. for Zac Gallen trade comes to mind, not to mention the four-player deal that brought Germán Márquez to Denver from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016.
Colorado is dead last in stolen bases with 29. Two players, Esteury Ruiz (39) of the Oakland Athletics and Ronald Acuña Jr. (33) of Atlanta, have more than 27 players combined who have suited up in purple this season. Take the governor off and let the kids run, right?
“That was a tough one. We’ll turn the page on that one for sure,” manager Bud Black said Saturday night. “It’s one game.”
And he’s right. It’s one game. Not as bad as a loss at the 2017 National League Wild Card Game. Or any during the 2007 World Series.
The fruitful work of the franchise in the years prior was reflected in the situations in which those losses occurred. This time, too, its fair to make the same consideration for the NL’s worst team on June 25.