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Colorado Rockies bullpen is beyond predictable

David Martin Avatar
August 12, 2015

 

Why even watch?

That’s not being cynical, that’s simply being realistic. It is an honest question. Do most Colorado Rockies fans simply turn off the TV when it is time to watch the bullpen come in and either keep a game close or hold on to a small lead? The end result is as sure of a bet as death and taxes.

The Rockies did it again on Tuesday night. Down 1-0 after Chris Rusin had dueled nearly pitch-for-pitch with Mets ace Matt Harvey. Rusin was great. He went six innings, giving up just one run on eight hits. He struck out five and walked only one. It wasn’t what most expected when they looked at the probable pitchers before the game. The one run came across in the 6th inning when Ruben Tejada poked a ball into right field, scoring old friend Michael Cuddyer from second base.

Of course, with his pitch count nearing 100, the Rockies went to the bullpen in the 7th inning. Rafael Betancourt pitched a clean 7th inning, but the 8th is when the circus music started playing and the carnival that is the Rockies bullpen showed up again.

John Axford started the inning. He has struggled since late June, losing his role as closer after blowing five straight saves in late July. On Tuesday he came to the mound and promptly did what nearly everyone was expecting. After Juan Uribe, who seems to have played 100 games against the Rockies in 2015, grounded out, Axford had to face Cuddyer. The trouble started there. Cuddyer singled then stole second base after Wilmer Flores lined out. With two outs, Axford was a good pitch away from sending his team back to the dugout one swing away from being able to tie the game. Instead, Axford walked Travis d’Arnaud, then walked Tejada. With the bases loaded manager Walt Weiss went to the bullpen.

Since Mets manager Terry Collins pinch hit lefty Curtis Granderson, Weiss countered with Boone Logan. The problem is, Boone Logan is a terrible pitcher and Granderson is a very good hitter. While the matchup wasn’t a good one for the Rockies, the results weren’t ever available to be seen, as Logan walked Granderson, forcing in another run. Juan Lagaras then doubled to score two more runs and a one-run deficit was now four runs.

All of the excuses available to the Rockies could be used. The fact that Adam Ottavino required Tommy John surgery after a dominant April means that the pen has been short-handed. The problem is, there was no Plan-B. There was no parachute in case something went wrong. When it went wrong, the Rockies had no options and suddenly the scenario that happened on Tuesday became an all-too-frequent occurrence.

It is tough to watch. The predictability of the bullpen failing is uncanny. If the Rockies want to have different results in 2016, the entire bullpen will need to be re-worked. It isn’t an option. It is a complete disaster.

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