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News » Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-09-30


Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-09-30


Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2008-09-30
The Rockies learned the lesson -- the hard way.

They don't plan on taking a chance for 2009. They will focus this offseason on adding a big-league starting pitcher, and they will dangle infielder Garrett Atkins and left fielder Matt Holliday in trade discussions.

Coming off the first NL pennant in franchise history last winter, the front office wanted to be careful not to disrupt the makeup of the team, and it took a passive approach to the offseason. Nowhere was it more apparent than in the lack of success the Rockies had in their offseason acquisition of pitchers.

"We were a little less aggressive," general manager Dan O'Dowd admitted. "We tried to find someone who was more of a swing guy than a true starter. We felt after the way Franklin (Morales) pitched in the final two months, and with what we saw with Jason Hirsh, that we didn't want to take away any chance they had to flourish."

They didn't flourish, and when Ubaldo Jimenez struggled early and Jeff Francis battled left shoulder inflammation, the Rockies dug themselves an early-season hole that they never climbed out of, even though the rest of the NL West gave them plenty of opportunities to catch up.

Hirsh didn't get to the big leagues until September. He opened the season on the disabled list with a sprained right rotator cuff, then spent the summer trying to rebuild strength at Class AAA Colorado Springs. Morales went 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA in five starts, allowing 28 hits and 17 walks in 25 1/3 innings before being shipped out, and he wasn't even recalled in September. The three veterans the Rockies had as insurance -- Mark Redman, Josh Towers and Kip Wells -- cost them $5 million and combined for 11 ineffective starts.

And along with the rotation problems, the Rockies offense sputtered. Center fielder Willy Taveras and third baseman Atkins were the only members of the Opening Day lineup who didn't spend time on the disabled list, and Taveras did miss the final week of the season with a stress fracture in his right tibia. And there was an early-season bullpen malfunction that resulted in Brian Fuentes regaining the closer role from Manny Corpas.

Add it all together and it tells the story of why the Rockies suffered their ninth losing season in 11 years.

Nineteen games into the season, they fell below .500 (9-10) and never got back to break even. They never spent a day in first place in the NL West.

"It was," manager Clint Hurdle said, "a challenging year, an emotional year."

And, in the end, it was a disappointing year.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 30, 2008

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