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Colorado Rockies return home after series split with Dodgers

David Martin Avatar
May 18, 2015

 

The Colorado Rockies return home from a six-game Southern California road trip in which they went 2-4. They lost 1-0 on Sunday, spoiling the second consecutive solid start from Kyle Kendrick.

How bad has it gotten for the Rockies? A 2-4 road trip actually feels like it was pretty decent.

Two wins on the short trip might sound like a lousy trip, but consider the fact that the team had just lost nine straight before going out to play two very good teams. After 11 losses in a row, winning one of the games, especially considering the fact that they faced both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke is nearly cause for celebration.

It might not be time to save money for playoff tickets, but there were some positives, despite the team returning home in worse shape than they were when they left.

Kendrick, who had calls for his rotation spot two weeks ago, had two very good outings. In both of his starts he went seven innings. In Anaheim he gave up two runs, in Los Angeles on Sunday he gave up only one. It seems that Kendrick has ditched his two seamed fastball and is throwing his sinker more often. The two pitches aren’t that much different, but the two-seamer hasn’t been moving enough, or when it did it would ride right over the heart of the plate.

When Kendrick is throwing his sinker he is at least good enough to keep the Rockies in the game. He threw that pitch early and often. It was good enough to give him nine ground ball outs. Also, despite walking five Dodgers, getting nine ground ball outs kept the Dodgers from getting extra bases and allowing those walks to turn bad.

The other positive to take from the Rockies road trip was the return to form of Jorge De La Rosa. The Rockies ace went toe-to-toe with Zack Grienke, who has been as good as anyone in the game for nearly half of a season. The Dodger starter hadn’t picked up a loss since August of last year. De La Rosa made the one run that the Rockies were able to score off of him stand up.

There is no reason to believe that De La Rosa can’t return to the form that has helped him win more than half a dozen baseball games in each season since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2012. The early starts of De La Rosa were concerning, but considering the fact that he missed nearly all of spring training because of a groin injury, it makes sense that it would take time for him to get back to the level that he was pitching at in year’s past.

It should be said once again and made as clear as possible. This Rockies team has no chance whatsoever of going to the playoffs. This isn’t a team that is good enough for sustained success throughout the course of a 162-game season. However, one thing that writers and pundits in Denver don’t seem to realize is that the Rockies have to start somewhere. This is a team that has been the doormat of the National League for the past four seasons. They are pulling from a farm system that was so depleted by by drafts that the reinforcements that made it to the big leagues weren’t anywhere close to what they needed to be.

The Rockies lineup is good, but anyone who watches baseball regularly knows the formula to win at the big league level. It takes a good lineup, but more important is a phenomenal pitching staff. To go to the playoffs a team has to have more reliable arms than one or two guys. The Rockies believe that they have that in a few of their younger starters, but to expect those young pitchers to be ready this early is asking too much. Simply said, it is going to take more than a year for the Rockies to get good enough to anticipate a run to the playoffs.

Patience is required. People need to understand that. Pundits locally are going to argue that the changes the Rockies made weren’t good enough. However, six weeks isn’t enough time to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to new general manager Jeff Bridich. The draft, coming up in June, is going to be a good litmus test for Bridich and his team. The following off-season will also be a solid test for the new man in charge. Unfortunately, the Rockies and their fans won’t be watching a competitive team in 2015.

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