The map for the Rockies who are diving me crazy
Going into Saturday’s epic confrontation, the Colorado Rockies were 4-0 this season against the San Francisco Giants.
And now the sports editor bangs his head against desk.
This may come as no surprise to you, but the Rockies have never been very good on the road. To make it official, the mighty warriors of Colorado are 975-814 at old Mile High/Coors Field and 699-1,087 away from 5,280 feet or so.
The Rockies have winning records on the road against only two teams in baseball — the Chicago White Sox (2-1 in one series on the South Side, thank you, interleague play) and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals (47-39).
It’s enough to give a fan a persecution complex, not that I didn’t have one already. I am still smarting from Neifi Perez’s home run in 1998.
OK, to make this even more strange, the Rockies worst record in any city? Yep, San Francisco — 65-119 at ye olde Candlestick and AT&T Park. (I would have never guessed No. 2 on the list. It’s not Dodger Stadium, but Arizona. How’d that happen? Chase Field is the only other hitter’s park in the NL West, besides Coors.)
But we’re not going to take out my frustrations on the local nine.
Here’s what they’re doing right and need to do:
Good job, Rockies
• Nolan Arenado — Holy breakout year, Batman. He hits everywhere — at Coors and on the road. He’s got a vacuum cleaner of a glove. He’s 24, making the Major League minimum and under club control until 2019. He’s the franchise.
• Of course, Troy Tulowitzki has been the franchise, but, as we all know, health is an issue. Tulo’s been relatively healthy this year, and overcome an early-season slump. This is what we call a trade chip. There’s no sense in paying him the $94 million he’s owed from 2016-2020 for his early- to mid-30s years.
I’m not the only one thinking this. The Rockies drafted shortstop Brendan Rodgers with the third pick in the draft earlier this month. Tulo is not long for purple, and this will be fine.
Wait until the trade deadline, and deal him to a team desperate for offense in exchange for prospects. As much as the New York Yankees have been mentioned as a Tulo landing spot, not there. The Yankees don’t have the pitching arms. Try the Astros, Mets and/or Mariners.
• Carlos Gonzalez has been healthy, miracle of miracles. Seriously, what were the odds of Tulo and Cargo both being healthy in the same season? Like Tulo, Carlos Gonzalez is making a ton of money, and the Rockies should dump him. Everybody needs offense these days. The Rockies have it. Deal it.
• The Rockies are finally drafting smartly. Colorado had 42 picks earlier this month. Twenty-two of those selections were pitchers. There is not enough money in the world to get a pitcher to come to Coors Field as a free agent. While drafting is more of an art than a science, you increase your odds of landing pitching by picking it.
• The starting rotation remains atrocious. Chad Bettis is having a solid season and that’s about it. There’s a little help on then horizon in the minors for the Rockies. Don’t be surprised to see Jon Gray, now at AAA Albuquerque, get a September call-up. His numbers with the Isotopes haven’t been great, but the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League often doesn’t reward pitchers.
Kyle Freeland, last year’s No. 1 pick, has been shelved by shoulder surgery. Eddie Butler’s been knocked around a bit in his foray into the Majors, but that’s going to happen.
• The Rockies need some organizational patience, which is difficult with a franchise that’s been in the dumps for a while. Colorado sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland fro Drew Pomeranz, and gave the latter all of 140 innings at the Major League level before shipping him to Oakland, where he’s become a functional pitcher. Premiere pitchers rarely come to the big leagues ready to go.
They also need a philosophy makeover. Yes, the trend is to coddle pitchers, but the Rockies need to have their hurlers ready to eat innings. Even in a good start at Coors Field, a starter isn’t going to throw 100 pitches and get through eight or nine innings. Colorado needs to get its pitchers to throw 120 per outing. Kids are strong. They can do it without breaking.
In the meantime, the Rockies finally lost in San Francisco.
The sports editor can stop banging his head on his desk.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.