Colorado Rockies: Random Thoughts on a Tuesday

The Colorado Rockies continue their trend of beating the good teams, and losing to the bad ones. A series defeat to the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks (58-79) was followed by a dominant outing by Chad Bettis and a shutout of the San Francisco Giants (73-64). Can you imagine what the Rockies record would be if they could have beaten the bad teams in the last two months?

Here are some more random thoughts as the Colorado Rockies look to win the series tonight against the Giants.

Chad Bettis had his best outing of the year yesterday

Prior to yesterday, Bettis was having an OK year. He had won 11 games, but his ERA stood at 5.17, the worst mark out of all the regular starters.

However yesterday he showed his best command of the year, mixing in all his pitches well and throwing quality strikes. He held the stumbling Giants (who are a MLB-worst 16-31 since the All-Star break) to a measly two hits and a shutout and the first complete game of his career.

How good was this performance? Only one other Rockie had done this in a game (two hits or fewer, zero runs, complete game at Coors Field) in the history of the franchise – Jeff Francis versus St. Louis on July 24, 2006, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

Bettis lowered his ERA from 5.17 to 4.88 after this performance. Bettis showed what a quality starter he can be when he has all his pitches at his disposal and he is attacking the strike zone. Since June 9, the Rockies have won all eight starts at home that Bettis has pitched.

Though it is too late in the season to affect 2016, this level of performance should give him confidence going into 2017.

Can the Rockies still make the playoffs?

No, unless they go on a repeat of the Rocktober magic of 2007. The Rockies have too many games left against the Padres and Diamondbacks this month, and they are yet to show they can beat the lowly teams over a series.

However, even if the playoffs are out-of-reach, the Rockies are giving valuable playing time and MLB experience to players like Raimel Tapia, Tom Murphy, Matt Carasiti and Jeff Hoffman.

All of these guys have positive futures ahead of them and will add a lot of new talent to the Rockies. We have already seen the impact Trevor Story and David Dahl brought to the offense. On paper, the Rockies look to be very good in 2017. But what shows on paper and what is delivered on the field is two totally different things, as we all know…

The future is now for the Rockies

The Rockies today designated for assignment first baseman Ben Paulsen and infielder Rafael Ynoa. Neither player had done much this year at either the major league level or at Triple-A (Paulsen: slashed .278/.331/.434 in 78 games at Albuquerque and Ynoa: lifetime .280/.339/.386 slash at the Triple-A level, per Steve Adams of MLBtraderumors.com. Infielder/outfielder Jordan Patterson and infielder Pat Valaika were called up for their first major league action, and both will likely debut in the next day or so.

The Rockies also called up catcher Dustin Garneau, and right-handed pitchers Eddie Butler and German Marquez.

The Rockies are squarely looking at what they have internally to help make them make important roster decisions for the 2017 season. Story will be back, and it remains to be seen if the team makes an effort to re-sign first baseman Mark Reynolds. Though Gerardo Parra is adapting to first quite well at the moment, Reynolds is the better option at first next season, especially defensively, and his more patient approach at the plate this year led him to a slash line well-above his career averages.

If the Rockies can win another 10 games this month, this would put them at 76 wins for the season. Considering the last two seasons they won 68 and 66 games respectively, this would be a decent turnaround season.

And when you throw in the current young offensive talent, and the further development of pitchers Jon Gray and hopefully Hoffman, the Rockies prospects for 2017 look exciting.

The Rockies have two key questions for 2017 – who will be the manager, and who will be in the bullpen. Even with all the promise next year appears to have, the answers to these two questions will primarily determine the type of season the Rockies will have.

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