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Jeff Sauer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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May 29, 2012
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Are the Rockies really this bad?

The standings don't lie, and neither do the stats.

Prior to yesterday's double-dip against the Astros, the purple dinosaurs sat at 17-29, perilously close to the cellar, with little chance of cranking out a respectable season. Fans can still tune in to watch some decent games occasionally, but for the most part, this team has become a nightmare to watch on a daily basis.

It might actually be worse than you think when you glance deeper into their recent past and realize how far they have fallen since their wild card season of 2009.

The Rox are 23 games below .500 since late August of last year, and a whopping 41 games below .500 dating back to late 2010 - one of the worst records in the majors during this span.

Their 2012 ERA is at 5.10 and climbing, and they've also given up more hits and total bases than any team in the National League, which is a bummer, because trying to fix pitching in the middle of a season is like trying to fix the Titantic with caulking.

Every time a Rockies pitcher takes the hill, fellow teammates know they're going to get lit up like a Christmas tree, and that inferiority plays into the psyche of their core offensive players.

You would have snakes in your head, too, if you thought your team needed to score at least six runs per game.

I've always felt that if the Rockies could just stay in contention each year until pre-season football arrived, my summers would go off without a hitch. Sprinkle in a 2007 or 2009 on occasion and I'm content.

Not this year. It wasn't meant to be.

If anything, I was guilty of drinking too much of the purple Kool-aid, and I bought into what GM Dan O'Dowd and the organization were trying to accomplish over the past few seasons.

Here's why: When the Rox were in a tough financial spot with Matt Holliday following their epic 2007 run to the World Series, O'Dowd masterfully orchestrated the trade for Carlos Gonzalez, who will turn out to be one of the best players to ever wear a Rockies uniform by the time he retires.

Chalk up one up for O'Dowd on that move.

When O'Dowd re-signed Troy Tulowitzki and Cargo to long-term deals prior to last season and passed on doing the same with faltering ace Ubaldo Jimenez, again, these are the types of moves that give you confidence in the organization.

Apparently, I'm now in the minority with my praise for O'Dowd. Rockies online chat rooms are full of people calling for his head and threatening to turn in their season tickets. (Yeah right). I actually think DOD is a sharp baseball mind with a pretty decent track record, minus the pitching problems.

I have faith in Jim Tracy as the skipper as well.

Rockies President Dick Monfort came out last week to offer his support for both, saying in essence, that the blame for the Rox demise should fall squarely on his shoulders, not O'Dowd and Tracy.

An honorable thing to do, but certainly not necessary.

The fact remains that free agent pitchers don't want to pitch in the rarified air of Coors Canaveral. All pitching must be home grown or acquired via trades, and that puts a lot of pressure on the organization.

The Rockies did sign a high-quality free agent in Michael Cuddyer before this season, and that move will reflect well on O'Dowd over the next few years, but the pitching continues to be a sore spot that everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, can't resolve.

They really haven't figured it out since 1993.

It kind of is what it is, and although this season appears to be lost (or a couple of seasons if you're a glass half empty fan), there will be better days ahead.

For now, I say pull all of the baseballs out of that humidor down at Coors Field, and let 'em rip like the old days.

Maybe they can "bomb" their way back into the race.

Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and a former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at soprisjeff@yahoo.com


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The Post Independent Updated May 29, 2012 01:27AM Published May 29, 2012 01:26AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.