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The Rockies will return to a traditional five-man rotation next year

Sep 15, 2012, 2:24 PM EDT

Jhoulys Chacin Getty Getty Images

We heard late last month that the Rockies were planning to stick with a four-man rotation next year, but it turns out they will have a more conventional approach. Rockies assistant general manager Bill Geivett told Troy Renck of the Denver Post last night that the team will return to a traditional five-man rotation next season.

While the Rockies were limiting their starters to around 75 pitches, they will now work in the 90-100 range while starting on four days’ rest. The team plans to keep three “piggyback relievers” as a leftover from the experiment.

The Rockies had a 6.28 ERA from their starters when they made the switch in mid-June. They’ll enter play today with a 5.88 ERA, so while they have improved, that’s not saying much. Heck, that might have happened anyway if they stuck with five starters. The experiment also put added stress on their relievers, who rank 26th in the majors with a 4.66 ERA.

After analyzing the data and getting input from general manager Dan O’Dowd and manager Jim Tracy, it was ultimately decided that the team’s four-man rotation approach wasn’t feasible over a full season.

“There are issues in a lot of areas that put us where five is a better way to go as a standard rule. One, in terms of the length of the season, can the guys recover when you have all those consecutive days (of games)? We were in situations where we had to bump a guy back or use another guy,” Geivett told The Denver Post.

“Recovery was one. Development was another, because their side work was really limited between games. We were really limited on how much they could do to work on their delivery; that was difficult as well.”

The Rockies have struggled to find a pitching approach that works in Coors Field, so they deserve credit for trying something different while missing key cogs like Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin. It would have been nice to see them continue it with a better collection of talent, but perhaps someone will be inspired to take this concept and run with it in the future.

  1. mazblast - Sep 15, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Did Jesus tell them to switch back? Or was it the fact that the experiment was a complete failure?

    • ezthinking - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      A complete failure would have been a worsening of their records and pitching performances. Instead it improved. Divine intervention was not necessary.

  2. Old Gator - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    The Rocky Mountain Oysters really need to dome their stadium and pressurize it to sea level. That would help relieve some of the wear and tear on their pitchers, and it might cut down on all that background wheezing on their radio telecasts too.

    • ezthinking - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      Radio telecasts!? I hope you’re an over-the-road trucker listening on Sirus/XM. Otherwise, jeezus you’re old.

      And if you can, take in a day game at Coors. The mountains in the back drop, the huge field, the life around the stadium….it’s what makes baseball great. The only place for domes is Florida. For the ‘sunshine state’ they sure have alot of rain.

      • Old Gator - Sep 15, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        Coors is a beautiful park. Saw the Rockies play the Astros there a few years ago when I was exploring some of the seedier side of Denver looking for Neal Cassady’s childhood haunts. As far as driving the regional highways, I also love dodging the bouncing beets out on Interstate 70.

    • crisisjunky - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      Too true. There is no real gray area with Coors, you get humidor and pitching or, well.. not.

      (Maybe we’re hearing one of those new portable O2 units under Ringolsby’s 10G head affectation.)

  3. personalspaceinvader - Sep 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I liked the 4/4 “Octopus” idea for next season but it wouldn’t be feasible unless the Rox wanted to only keep 12 position players and a 13 man pitching staff.

    The real problem is the lack of major league pitchers, not the way that they were being used.

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