In the Rockpile: Can the Rockies survive without Troy Tulowitzki?


Colorado Rockies column banner: In the Rockpile -- Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki is down on all fours after stopping a ground ball.
Troy Tulowitzki suffered a broken rib trying to stop a groundball during Wednesday game with the Nationals. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Unable to catch a good break if one landed in their gloves, the Colorado Rockies have now lost Troy Tulowitzki for 4-6 weeks with a broken rib. The production value of Troy Tulowitzki has been invaluable, and he is leading all shortstops in All-Star voting. Nothing could hurt this team more offensively than losing their star player. Fourth in RBIs (51), Tulo is Colorado’s most valuable offensive asset, and his loss may cause a ripple in the team offensively.

This recent injury has also brought out the Tulo critics who decry him for being injury prone, but they generally fail to recognize he becomes injured by playing so damn hard. You can’t begrudge him for that, and a result has him becoming injured. His numbers speak for themselves and his defensive prowess is undeniable. Troy Tulowitzki is a top-10 player in assists (4th), fielding percentage (1st) and errors (T-1st with Stephen Drew, with only one error) in all of baseball coming out of last Wednesday night’s game. His offensive statistics are similar: top-10 player.

The Rockies have managed to get on without Troy Tulowitzki in the past, but for the amount of money he makes, the sales he generates and the runs he scores, you want him out on the field, not on the DL. Because of this he will be missing the All-Star Game, June 16for the second consecutive year.

In the meantime, manager Walt Weiss will have Jonathan Herrera resume his role as Tulowitzki’s understudy and become the regular starting shortstop until their all-star can return. DJ LeMahieu will see more time, and Josh Rutledge got a call up early Friday morning then knocked in a two-run homer later that evening.

The Rockies also missed a major blow Thursday when Carlos Gonzalez was popped in the foot while in the on-deck circle. Experiencing some soreness, CarGo was in the lineup Friday night though not 100 percent according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Dexter Fowler was hit by a pitch on a bunt attempt Thursday, as well, and may take some days off until his hand is back to normal. That night’s game against the Washington Nationals was not a good one, and the Nats took the three-game series with a 5-4 win.

Colorado can make it without Troy Tulowitzki; they’ve had to do it plenty of times before. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier to stay in the hunt for the NL West title. They are going to need everybody performing in order to keep Arizona and San Francisco from outpacing them. If the Rockies can remain competitive and scratch out wins without Tulo — using their platoon players and shuffling positions — they can still be in control of their destiny going into the final stretch the baseball season when Tulo will be back.

They just have to hold it together, and I don’t see any reason they can’t, so long as Arizona or San Francisco don’t go on a tear.

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