In the Rockpile: Rockies “octopus” rotation, a small-ball innovation

Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy will be making frequent calls to the bullpen again in 2013. (Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Revolutionaries in baseball, the Colorado Rockies are going to stick with their innovative approach to big league baseball: small-ball thinking. The four-man rotation the Rockies installed mid-season to try and make up for their pitching problems has, only as of late, produced success. This month of success has provoked the management to declare that it shall continue into next season.

The success arrived and the Rockies have had a hot month (16-11) including four- and five-game winning streaks. The issue is the short-sighted thinking behind it. If they really do intend to go forward with this “octopus” of pitchers where there will be four starting pitchers that will be paired with four other starting pitchers. You’re following me, right? Four starters and four other starters, relieving each other in a separate pitching rotation.

Do you see how increasingly complicated they are making their jobs at Coors Field? Am I the only one who is missing the newest innovation in baseball because I am stuck on wanting quality pitchers who can pitch a full game on their own? A hallmark of small-ball thinking is trying to play checkers instead of chess. The games are intrinsically different in difficulty.

The Rockies intend to approach next season like this: Jorge De La Rosa/Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis/Juan Nicasio, etc. I think that about sums it up: pairing guys who should be starting on their own who just haven’t been trusted to go too long by manager Jim Tracy. The leash is short on pitchers (75 pitches again), but only so far as to limit them from totally trashing their ERAs. The win column for Rockies starters is deep in the red, responsible for a part of 25 wins. The relievers are high in the green with more wins than the starters at 28. The starters have been embarrassingly bad, and thankfully some of those responsible – Jeremy Guthrie and Jamie Moyer – for being a part of it (Guthrie with losses and Moyer for his time) have been sacked. Just like in the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, those responsible for the sacking should be sacked as well.

Sure, the Rockies octopus – God, what an even worse mascot that would be – may prove successful, and if the pitchers begin to prove themselves, then maybe they can revert to a regular depth chart. But every year Rockies pitchers don’t make it through a season is another where the club gets cheap by playing small ball with a big-boy lineup.

Some other Rockies news that might matter

Troy Tulowitzki is working his way back and is playing in the minor league system on rehab. They really should save him for … fan day or spring training. Similar logic is lost on the club and the upcoming season because the answer to winning now is a shortstop playing in garbage-time baseball games? Tell us all how this benefits anybody by risking another injury?

Jason Giambi will be coming back, and the Rockies will not be calling up Nolan Arenado for this season. He’s lucky he isn’t up there to toil in this baseball pit.

Follow me on Twitter@CoryWhitmer, because I don’t just clown on the Rockies

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