Nobody likes to talk about injuries, but they are a part of all professional sports. Players and coaches always use phrases like “injuries are no excuse” and “next man up,” but as expected as those responses are, it doesn’t mean that losing playing time from people expected to make contributions isn’t troubling. There is some sympathy from opposing teams, but they’re not going to change their focus about winning—nor should they—and the season goes on, healthy or otherwise.
Walt Weiss, to his credit, won’t allow his team to dwell on their current situation. Nevertheless, it is readily apparent to even the most casual baseball fan that this Rockies team right now is a far cry from the one just three weeks ago. Nolan Arenado, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez, and Willin Rosario—50% of the Rockies regular lineup—have combined to miss 59 games on the disabled list, and that number is only going to grow for the next month or more, at least. Analyzing further, it’s not just that the Rockies have lost 4 regulars from the lineup for a significant amount of time, it can be argued that you are talking about 4 of the top 5 players in that lineup. Younger or more inexperienced players get opportunities during these players’ absences, but there is a significant drop in talent in most cases. For example, there is a lot to like about Cory Dickerson, but no one should be ready yet to say he is in Cargo’s category at this point in his career.
The same situation, if not worse, exists with the Rockies pitching. 80% of their expected starting rotation has been on the disabled list for a combined total of 133 games, and that total will also increase before they all return. It is a blessing that none of the injuries are season-ending or career-threatening, but the challenge becomes large while the club waits for people like Anderson, Chatwood, and Lyles to return. A team that has three pitchers make their Major League debuts in a six-day period, like the Rockies are doing with Eddie Butler, Christian Bergman, and Tyler Matzek, is something that I cannot recall another team doing, at least not in the first week of June anyway.
Bottom line, injuries challenge every team in the big leagues, and depth is never as deep as you hope it is. The Rockies have to get through the month of June somehow without being completely buried, and hope they can again resemble the team we saw during the first six weeks of the season during the final three months of the 2014 campaign. Enjoy the work of healthy players like Tulowitzki, Morneau, Blackmon, and LeMahieu in the meantime, and keep the faith that better days are still to come.
TIP OF THE WEEK: I hope you will allow me a shameless plug for this week’s tip. In time for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing and Father’s Day, I have released my second novel, NIGHT OF DESTINY: 24 DECEMBER 1944. The story is inspired by events in which my father was involved as he served in Europe during World War II. For anyone that appreciates the sacrifices made by many during this conflict, this story touches on the elements that made those involved “The Greatest Generation.” We will have more information on NIGHT OF DESTINY here on the 850KOA website, but if you’re looking for a Father’s Day gift, it is available now exclusively at Amazon.com. I hope you enjoy it...I think you will.