What Went Wrong: Not really a big fan of making excuses for failed performance on the baseball field, but it's hard to get around them when looking at the Colorado Rockies bullpen situation. Most of the guys out there are toast, and the ones who aren't toast are seemingly working on fumes.
So many unnecessary innings, not only for the piggyback guys, but that next layer as well that includes Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers and Matt Reynolds. Unfortunately. I think Belisle may have finally crossed the line to toast in his 56th appearance on Sunday afternoon after wobbling in the 7th inning and falling completely apart in the 8th inning.
Matt Belisle's Line: 1 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (21 strikes)
Jim Tracy rode Belisle until he had nothing left (and then continued riding him for another 10 pitches or so). He then turned to Rafael Betancourt for a five-out save opportunity. Three batters later — sacrifice fly, three-run homer and a double — Betancourt was out, and the Rockies 6-4 lead entering the inning was now a 9-6 deficit.
Such a disappointing result after the offense battled back from an early deficit to take control in the middle innings. And, as usual, there's no reason to not draw a straight line right to the paired pitching system. It continues to cause more chaos and harm than good.
Alex White's Line: 4 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 82 pitches (48 strikes)
Like Jeff Francis on Wednesday in Los Angeles, the damage against White all came within the first few hitters. A lot of his own doing (wild pitch included), but the botched rundown (somebody please work with Wilin Rosario on the basics of defense) certainly helped little. From there White wouldn't really find a good groove until the 4th inning, and of course that was his final inning. Who knows, he may have been good for at least one more inning, even two, which would be so huge to the bullpen's cause. It just isn't an option with our mess of a system in place.
Highlight of the Night: Rockies pitchers helped their own cause on Sunday. First, Alex White knocked in the tying run with his 4th inning sacrifice fly. Two innings later, Carlos Torres (previously 0-for-4, four strikeouts) was left to hit for himself with the go-ahead run on second. He miraculously put the ball in play and got his first career hit and RBI out the deal.
Somehow in Jim Tracy's mind this justifies all the times he's allowed a relief pitcher to hit for himself in an obvious pinch-hit situation, and also justifies all the times he'll do it in the future.
What's Next: The Rockies are heading home to face the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night at 6:40. Your starters for the evening will be Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.06) and Mike Fiers (6-4, 1.80).
Final Thoughts: On the heels of a 1-8 homestand, a 3-3 trip through Los Angeles and San Francisco almost feels like a 5-1 or 6-0 trip. It's not a bad result at all. Of course we all witnessed the reasons it didn't turn out to be an actual 5-1 trip. The same reasons we've seen all season. But the pitching had its moments (two shutouts) and I was really impressed with both Eric Young and D.J. LeMahieu in their starting roles, and continued to be impressed with Josh Rutledge.
Real good week for that trio, but meaningless in the big picture if they don't establish some consistency and continue adjusting and improving.