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Colorado Rockies 2015 starting rotation might not be all that bad

David Martin Avatar
September 17, 2014
Tyler Matzek was good again on Tuesday night.

In the midst of all of the negative, a few things positive might be coming out for the Colorado Rockies.

On Tuesday night at Coors Field, Tyler Matzek proved that his recent success wasn’t simply because he was facing bad teams. The rookie went 5-1/3 innings, giving up just two runs. He gave up 11 hits, but was good enough to wiggle off of the hook and only give up the two runs, both of which came in the 6th inning.

Matzek continues to shine. The Dodgers team that he kept off balance is one that is likely to cruise into the postseason. They have four outfielders capable on starting on the majority of big league rosters, but simply can’t find them all enough playing time. They also have one of the emerging forces in big league baseball in Yasiel Puig. However, Matzek wasn’t shaken.

While Matzek once again had impressive numbers, what he did when he wasn’t dominating is what stands out the most. In the 5th inning, the first two Dodgers to the plate reached base. After a fielder’s choice from Dee Gordon, Los Angeles had runners on first and third with one out. The Rockies were only winning 3-0, so a big inning could easily have propelled the Dodgers.

Instead, Matzek settled in. He struck out Puig on a full count pitch for the second out, then worked Adrian Gonzalez into a full count before getting him to line out to center field. It was a moment that Rockies fans have to hope is a sign of things to come for the young lefty.

Many rookies would have let things get out of hand. The inning would have snowballed and the Rockies lead would have evaporated. However, Matzek remained cool and worked his way out of the jam. That shows maturity and confidence, especially against a playoff-bound team like the Dodgers.

Matzek has been impressive, but strangely enough, in a season where the pitching has done the Rockies in many times, there have been quite a few impressive starting pitchers. Everyone is aware of Jorge De La Rosa’s ability to pitch, especially when he is on the mound at the most impossible place to pitch in baseball, Coors Field. However, take a look at the young starters for the Rockies and there might be a slight reason to believe that this team can win on more than just days when De La Rosa pitches.

Twentieth-round draft choice Christian Bergman has shown the ability to get outs at the big league level. His sample size is small because of the broken hand he sustained in June, but in his limited appearances, he has looked like a serviceable member of a rotation.

Jordan Lyles, acquired for Dexter Fowler from the Astros, has also been impressive. He was the Rockies best starter for six weeks before sustaining his own hand injury. With ups and downs along the way, he has been someone who the Rockies can walk away from a miserable season and feel good about.

Those three starters, Matzek, Bergman and Lyles should be duking it out for the last two spots in the rotation next spring. With De La Rosa back in the mix, a healthy, and hopefully more focused Jhoulys Chacin back on the mound, and the most likely situation of an Eddie Butler or Jon Gray cracking the starting rotation as well as Tyler Chatwood returning sometime around the All-Star break, the Rockies might actually have some depth in their rotation.

That might sound too optimistic for the fan who is tired of watching the losing, as everyone is, but the issue in 2015 might not be the starters.

Make no mistake, no one is penciling in the Rockies as World Series bound with that rotation, but it certainly sets up better than the rotation that included Franklin Morales to start the season in 2014.

The Rockies will get another look at Butler on Saturday. If he can pitch as well as Matzek has down the stretch, it will be a great sign for a team hoping to improve greatly in 2015.

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