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Colorado's unique experiment failing?

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08:15 AM ET 09.03 | For a team having the kind of season the Rockies are, there's an awful lot of interest in their approach these days. The four-man rotation is a conversation starter. On the first day of each road series, a local writer asks about the Rockies' incredibly shrinking staff and harnessed 75-pitch count. Fans generally haven't warmed to the idea, especially judging from the social media and e-mail. The Rockies have long discussed addressing their pitching issues with unconventional methods. ... The switch to the four-man rotation came in June, when the Rockies had reached their abyss. There was nothing to lose, except more games. The Rockies' starters have pitched a little better since, posting a 6.28 ERA before and a 5.61 mark since.

The Denver Post

Jim Tracy, Getty Images Jim Tracy, Getty Images
September 3, 2012  08:21 AM ET

That park and the air does'nt help the ERA.........

September 3, 2012  08:55 AM ET

It's nice to see teams trying to shake it up and try something different, but when the guys in your rotation all **** doesn't really matter how often they pitch or what their count is - you're going to get slapped around.

September 3, 2012  09:13 AM ET

Move The Team to Potland Oregan!!! Call Dem Da Ducks!!!

September 3, 2012  12:23 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

That park and the air does'nt help the ERA.........

the whole team it appears to be made of paper,,,

September 3, 2012  12:54 PM ET

Lets not sugar coat it, the Rockies pitching staff is terrible. Second question, how does Tracy keep his job.

September 3, 2012  02:19 PM ET

The thin air is the difference, but not for the reason everyone thinks. Breaking balls rely on the friction of the air on the raised stitching on the baseballs to make curveballs curve and sinkers sink. In Denver, they don't. I've watched many games from Colorado on TV, and I have never seen a breaking ball break left or right or down. It's a physical impossibility. Every pitch follows the exact same arc to home plate, the one determined by gravity. Pitchers have to get by with fastballs and change-ups. If a pitcher doesn't have those 2 pitches in his repertoire, he's screwed.

September 3, 2012  02:33 PM ET

Problem is...its working finally. With posting an 18-13 record through the beginning of August, the pitching is finally showing dividends with blowouts from the starters becoming fewer and fewer. The piggy back bullpen has really shown some talent with Roenicke, Belisle, and Ottovino with ERAs lower than four. Add in that stater Chacin has given up a total of 5 runs in his 3 games back from the DL. Oh and they just won the series against that vaulted LA Dodgers line-up including a 10 run to 0 shutout. They wont win anything this year but next season, It will be the Rockies, not the LA Yankdgers that will win the west.

September 3, 2012  04:18 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Lets not sugar coat it, the Rockies pitching staff is terrible. Second question, how does Tracy keep his job.

should wqe blame the manager for the rockies albastros shameless season? or just blame the dog for the terrible smell???

September 3, 2012  04:20 PM ET
QUOTE(#8):

but next season, It will be the Rockies, not the LA Yankdgers that will win the west.

yack yack yack yack,,,, the rockies aren't going to be in any playoff berth not even if there would be easy shotts at the wildcard berth,,,

September 3, 2012  04:43 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

yack yack yack yack,,,, the rockies aren't going to be in any playoff berth not even if there would be easy shotts at the wildcard berth,,,

How? The Rox have a lineup that offensively can compete with any team in baseball. Heck our 2 bench outfielders in Eric Young Jr and Tyler Colvin would be starters on any other team. No one wants EY on base due to if he gets a single or a walk he turns it into a double almost every time due to his ability to steal. If it wasnt for the hype of Bryce Harper, Wilin Rosario would win the NL Rookie of the Year with his rookie leading home runs and Jordan Pachecho a close second with his rookie leading batting average. Let alone Josh Rutledge who is the new BIG second baseman in League once he moves when Tulo gets back. With our pitching coming together this team will not be looking at the wild card or even the west crown next season, they will be looking at the NL pennant.

September 4, 2012  09:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

How? The Rox have a lineup that offensively can compete with any team in baseball. Heck our 2 bench outfielders in Eric Young Jr and Tyler Colvin would be starters on any other team. No one wants EY on base due to if he gets a single or a walk he turns it into a double almost every time due to his ability to steal.

You're kidding, right? If there wasn't a "Jr" after Young's last name, he'd be a lifetime AAA-er. Yeah, he's a "threat" when he's on base -- the problem is that he doesn't get on base. He swings at bad pitches and just isn't a threat to get ON base. There's a reason he's not a starter.

September 4, 2012  10:39 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

The thin air is the difference, but not for the reason everyone thinks. Breaking balls rely on the friction of the air on the raised stitching on the baseballs to make curveballs curve and sinkers sink. In Denver, they don't. I've watched many games from Colorado on TV, and I have never seen a breaking ball break left or right or down. It's a physical impossibility. Every pitch follows the exact same arc to home plate, the one determined by gravity. Pitchers have to get by with fastballs and change-ups. If a pitcher doesn't have those 2 pitches in his repertoire, he's screwed.

I have played baseball in Colorado and the thin air does have an impact with ball movement. However, someone who has a terrific breaking pitch will still have it here. I played baseball in high school with a guy who had a major league curveball. When he was able to control it he was unhittable. When he did not have control the catcher had problems. My teammate did play professional in the minor leagues until his rotator cuff went out.

That said, all this talk about the air has some merit but is also over-rated in the same breath. Balls will travel farther and that is where the biggest issue is. A "can of corn" flyball becomes a homerun or falls in the gap. The size of the field to accommodate the altitude is also a big factor. Add these two factors and pitchers psych themselves out. Just look at the history of Rockies pitchers out there who have toiled here in Colorado. Also look at Roy Halladay. He is a Colorado product and didn't seem to do too bad here. He was good enough to attract scouts and his confidence was not shot coming out of high school.

That said, I played baseball in Colorado, not merely watched it. I will tell you that breaking pitches will move if the pitcher has a really decent one. There is a fine line between a pitcher with a great pitch and one with a mediocre pitch. The mediocre pitch is masked in lower altitudes while the great pitch can survive anywhere. That is speaking from experience.

September 4, 2012  10:42 AM ET

I have played baseball in Colorado and the thin air does have an impact with ball movement. However, someone who has a terrific breaking pitch will still have it here. I played baseball in high school with a guy who had a major league curveball. When he was able to control it he was unhittable. When he did not have control the catcher had problems. My teammate did play professional in the minor leagues until his rotator cuff went out.

That said, all this talk about the air has some merit but is also over-rated in the same breath. Balls will travel farther and that is where the biggest issue is. A "can of corn" flyball becomes a homerun or falls in the gap. The size of the field to accommodate the altitude is also a big factor. Add these two factors and pitchers psych themselves out. Just look at the history of Rockies pitchers out there who have toiled here in Colorado. Also look at Roy Halladay. He is a Colorado product and didn't seem to do too bad here. He was good enough to attract scouts and his confidence was not shot coming out of high school.

That said, I played baseball in Colorado, not merely watched it. I will tell you that breaking pitches will move if the pitcher has a really decent one. There is a fine line between a pitcher with a great pitch and one with a mediocre pitch. The mediocre pitch is masked in lower altitudes while the great pitch can survive anywhere. That is speaking from experience.

 
September 4, 2012  10:43 AM ET

Oops .... sorry for the double post. Newbie issue. :D

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