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Miserable day as the Colorado Rockies are swept

David Martin Avatar
May 7, 2015

 

Tickets were two-for-one at Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies double-header on Wednesday. The price was a rip-off.

The poor souls who had to sit through two embarrassing excuses for baseball games for more than six hours came home with nothing but heartburn from the hot dogs and heartache from the baseball team.

If it isn’t Rock bottom for the 2015 Rockies, it certainly has to be close. After two straight days of being rained out and trying to shake a five-game losing streak, the club had the worst thing possible happen to them. Tyler Matzek took the hill in game one and looked like the kid on the Little League team who was forced to pitch after all of the real pitchers ran out of innings in the tournament.

How bad was Matzek’s outing? He got through just two innings, giving up four runs. The worst stat, however, was that in 58 pitches, the Rockies former No. 1 draft pick threw just 20 strikes. That’s right, just 20 pitches, including those that were swung at, were in the strike zone. Matzek walked six in his two innings.

Simply put, there is no excuse for that type of outing.

Matzek is one of the Rockies prized prospects. He truly looked like he would be a breakout candidate in 2015 after making a sparkling debut a year ago and seeming like he had figured things out. At just 23 years old, the lefty looked like he could possibly be a guy who was a solid No.2 in the rotation and give the club a serious threat on the mound every fifth day. That talent is still there, but one has to question his presence on the Rockies–or any club’s–big league roster after his performance on Wednesday.

The positive for Matzek is that he is the kind of player who takes responsibility. He isn’t pointing the finger at anyone but himself. However, when a big league pitcher legitimately throws two-thirds of his pitches outside of the strike zone, and one of those pitches flies behind a batter when the pitcher isn’t trying to send a message, it raises red flags.

In the nightcap, Jordan Lyles was better, but is still learning how to avoid the big inning. He did the Rockies a huge favor by getting through seven innings, but he gave up four runs, three of which came in the 5th inning with two outs. With the Rockies in such a horrendous downward spiral, the seven innings alone might be one small victory for the day.

As has been discussed, this Rockies team is going to require patience. Turning a losing team, and a losing mindset, into a winner is an extremely difficult thing to do. This franchise has been mired in embraced mediocrity since the end of the 2010 season. They went from being one of the up-and-coming franchises to being steamrolled by the league, just like they had been for the majority of the early 2000’s.

Patience is required with guys like Matzek and Lyles because both of them are extremely young. Both of them are being forced to learn on the job. The scary reality for the Rockies is that they simply don’t have any extra options waiting in the minor leagues who could do a better job at this point.

Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett left Colorado after pointing their fingers at the injury bug and the altitude. What they were trying to distract fans from was the fact that there is no Major League ready talent in the farm system. There is certainly a glut of talent at the lower levels, and O’Dowd certainly deserves credit for that, but for four straight years the Rockies failed to draft well or develop well under O’Dowd’s watch. New general manager Jeff Bridich is forced to do the patchwork in bridging the gap.

Jon Gray is on the horizon, and Chad Bettis would potentially be the next option in the minor leagues, but by most accounts, neither of those guys is a better option then what the Rockies are running out to the mound.

Simply stated, Rockies fans are going to have to weather the storms of Matzek, Lyles and Eddie Butler’s on-the-job maturity. They are going to have to learn to enjoy watching a pitcher struggle and figure out how to get outs at the big league level.

All three of those young pitchers is extremely talented, however, it shouldn’t be a shock if they all have an ERA above 5.00 while they learn.

The good news is that they could all three figure it out and be very good in 2016, but for the time being, the Rockies are in a world where they are going to have to hold on and hope for a ride with as few bumps as possible.

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