COLORADO SPRINGS -- A Rockies roster that's mismatched -- an experienced lineup, paired with starting pitching that has three members who haven't made as many as 23 Major League starts -- will eventually come together, Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd insists. "With youth, we're going to go through some ups and downs," O'Dowd said. "We're going to continue to do that. But at the end of the year, we're going to be a better organization and a better club. I have no idea what the record is going to look like. But we're going to go through a lot of growth." For now, though, the record is the problem.
The Rockies raised hopes by bringing veterans Michael Cuddyer, Marco Scutaro and Ramon Hernandez to a lineup core that has had success. Yet they entered Friday night's game at Cincinnati with a 16-27 record, 13 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West. In various public forums, fans express frustration over the record as well as the team's reluctance to consider leadership changes. Owner and CEO Dick Monfort this week told the Denver Post and Root Sports Rocky Mountain that he will not replace O'Dowd or manager Jim Tracy, and lauded both. O'Dowd understands he is a target. "That's human nature: fire the GM," O'Dowd said. "I haven't read the articles, but I've heard about them. That's society in general. When you fire somebody, all of a sudden people feel better about it. And we're examining our entire process. "We don't stick our heads in the sand, but we make decisions in a calmer way, rather than an emotional way. Hey, I've made them the other way. I've acted the other way in previous years. That doesn't work, either. I've intentionally chosen to act the way I'm acting. I'm all in. No backing out now." The offense is its usual home-heavy self -- first in the NL in runs at home, 13th on the road. With key middle-of-the-order hitters Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki having gone through intermittent slumps and veteran first baseman Todd Helton struggling through prolonged difficulties, the team's batting average and on-base percentage are ranked in the middle of the league. The pitching staff has second-year man Juan Nicasio and rookies Alex White and Christian Friedrich, and another rookie, Drew Pomeranz, is at Triple-A Colorado Springs making adjustments in hopes of returning as a front-of-the-rotation starter. Veterans Jeremy Guthrie, who missed time with a shoulder injury, and Jamie Moyer are workaday pitchers rather than aces. Potential staff leader Jhoulys Chacin is out with a right shoulder injury. Veteran lefty Jorge De La Rosa's return from Tommy John elbow surgery won't happen until after the All-Star break. The struggles of the rotation have affected the bullpen. As a result, the Rockies entered Friday with the second-highest walks-per-nine-innings rate in the NL at 3.90. Add to all this a maddening pattern of hitting and pitching rarely producing in the same game. "That's up to the character of the men involved -- myself, the coaching staff, players, all of us," O'Dowd said. "Once we start pointing fingers and laying blame, this thing will be like it was here in the past. We will have lost with no purpose at all. This club is very capable of performing better, but a lot of things have to come together. I've been very consistent in saying that, even all winter. "We were going to be a work in progress. We have played horrible. At times it's been tough to watch. Hopefully we're getting all that out of our way so that we can play better."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.