In the Rockpile: Roy Oswalt injured and Colorado sinks further


Colorado Rockies column banner: In the Rockpile -- Roy Oswalt

Roy Oswalt runs to cover home plate after a wild pitch.
Roy Oswalt heard a pop while covering home after his wild pitch.

Relegated to third in the NL West after miraculously being able to stay in second place through most of June and the first week of July, the Colorado Rockies may be shuffling the deck chairs as the ship sinks. The Rockies have taken on water in the form of injuries and ineffectiveness, and it has caused the Rockies to very slowly go under in the standings.

The Rockies have now lost pitcher Roy Oswalt to a hamstring injury. Oswalt heard a “pop” while covering home plate following a wild pitch and is going to see some lengthy time off. That works well for the club, because the Roy Oswalt experiment was going nowhere and shades of Jamie Moyer came to mind. At least Moyer won a game and pitched longer.

Depending on how long Roy Oswalt is out — several weeks according to Denver Post’s Troy Renck — he may not have a position waiting for him. The Rockies have Juan Nicasio to call up and even Jeff Francis may get his one last shot with the club. Oswalt has those two to fear — any of the two should be better than Roy Oswalt, which is a real loose use of the word “better” — plus the Rockies have been inquiring about other pitchers before Oswalt’s hammy pop.

Miami Marlin Ricky Nolasco was a target, but he ended up in the NL West with the L.A. Dodgers. That’s the fortune the Rockies would, of course, have. Chicago Cub Matt Garza is also being observed, as well as Houston Astro Lucas Harrell. Nolasco wasn’t brought in because the Rockies refused to take the remaining $5.6 million contract he carried. Back to the drawing board they went.

The pitching woes have come back as the back end of the rotation continuously fails the club; the Rockies are 15-30 in games not started by Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin or Tyler Chatwood. The batters have produced a measly .205 batting average since the beginning of July and didn’t score one runner in scoring position during their series sweep by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler can’t get back fast enough. Both began rehab assignments on Monday and one may be back in the Rockies lineup by Thursday when the Rockies have to face the Dodgers again. Carlos Gonzalez strained a finger in the game Sunday, but was expected to play Monday if he felt up to it. He won’t miss significant time after an MRI revealed no break in his finger.

It is good news that Tulo and Dex will return soon — Tulo will actually get to play in an ASG — and that CarGo won’t miss much, but the back end of the rotation and the lack of scoring with RISP is sinking the Rockies in the standings as the Dodgers surge, the Diamondbacks continue to stay above water and the rest struggle going towards the All-Star break.

There is still time to remain in the hunt for first but the window of opportunity is rapidly shrinking.

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