Bullpen an area clearly in need of a boost

Rockies' McGee, Motte struggle in loss to Phillies

Bullpen an area clearly in need of a boost

DENVER -- The Rockies made a heavy investment in veteran relievers over the offseason, trading Corey Dickerson for Jake McGee and signing Jason Motte and Chad Qualls for a combined $22 million. As of late, the new acquisitions have struggled.

In Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Phillies, McGee and Motte gave up home runs, McGee allowed two runs in one-third of an inning and Motte allowed four runs in his lone frame.

"We've got to get those guys right," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Hopefully this break here will be a little bit of a reprieve, and we'll come back strong after the break. We've got to get some things ironed back there."

Both pitchers have struggled with the long ball this season. In their first seasons at Coors Field, they both have career highs in home runs allowed per nine innings (2.64 for Motte and 1.82 for McGee), and Qualls isn't far behind at a career-high 1.46 HR/9.

Coors Field has allowed the second most home runs per game -- 2.89, trailing only Safeco Field (2.90) -- and this is a problem the coaches are aware of.

"We talk to those guys all the time, even when they're with a plan," Weiss said. "They know how to pitch here. Once in a while on these hot days, you get the ball in the air, and it's going to go."

The latest struggles of McGee can be expected as he is coming off a left MCL sprain. He has allowed runs in three of his five outings since being activated from the 15-day disabled list, as he tries to get work in before potentially returning to his late-inning role.

Motte had his own struggles when he came off the 15-day DL to start the season with a right shoulder strain. He allowed runs in three of his first four games before pitching eight consecutive scoreless outings. Motte hadn't allowed a run in his five games previous to this outing, but those dominant stretches sandwiched three consecutive late-May outings in which he allowed a home run.

"With Jake, trying to build him back up and work him back in," Weiss said. "He was out for a while, so it's a bit of a process now, trying to pick spots to get him some innings under his belt and build him back up. With Motte, he's throwing the ball well. He's had a tough outing here or there, but for the most part, he's been pretty reliable back there."

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.