DENVER -- Turning over a pitching staff to youth can really hurt, and the Rockies are feeling the pain.
The current rotation has inexperienced arms in Juan Nicasio, and rookies Alex White (Friday night's starter against the Mariners) and Christian Friedrich. Drew Pomeranz is not expected to be at Triple-A Colorado Springs for long. In the bullpen, the Rockies are scuffling with lefty Rex Brothers, who hasn't completed a full big league season, in the primary setup role.
The result is a 5.00 ERA, including 5.07 from the rotation, and 143 total walks. Fans are having a hard time being asked to be patient after the team fashioned a veteran lineup.
But manager Jim Tracy insists he can take it. He also believes the situation can correct itself before it's too late for the 2012 Rockies.
"I'm not so sure that as we go along here that we're going to have to wait until next year," Tracy said. "We're going through a little bit of a learning curve. We have three rookie starters in the rotation, one [Friedrich, who will start Saturday against the Mariners] who has had two Major League starts but has been brilliant in those. You know that when you're dealing with young people, there's going to be some up and down.
"You have to roll with the punches. But if you stay the course, remain patient, knowing full well there are going to be jabs taken and there's going to be criticism, and if your shoulders are real broad and you have very narrow focus, you're going to get rewarded for this. I promise you. They are very good young arms."
It's not that Tracy and pitching coach Bob Apodaca -- both of whom are receiving constant criticism -- don't have their difficult moments. The pitchers may be young, but there is no minimum age for throwing strikes. Tracy met with his young pitchers several days ago to encourage them to challenge hitters. The basic issue is they're trying to have pitchers use the same aggressiveness that made them prospects in the first place.
"If somebody barrels one up and hits it a long way, so be it," Tracy said. "The general message is very simple. If you pitch defensively, you will fail. That theory, if you will, has never changed at any level with any pitcher against any hitter. If you're pitching not to fail, you're not going to like the outcome."