DENVER, Colorado – The Colorado Rockies 4-man pitching rotation experiment is dead, at least for the time being. Rockies manager Jim Tracy stepped down after the team set a franchise record for losses with 98.
The Rockies 4-man rotation was something new this season. Each starting pitcher was matched with a reliever with both scheduled to pitch on the same day. The starter was limited to 75 pitches and the first reliever to 50.
They started the system in late June, but then bowed to convention going back to a 5-man rotation when Jhoulys Chacin came off the DL late in the season. It is designed so the starting pitchers only see a lineup a few times through as batting averages tend to be higher the more a batter sees a certain pitcher.
However, with or without a 4-man rotation the Rockies pitching was the worst in the league this season. Their 5.22 ERA was last in the Major Leagues this season which was nearly a run worse than they were the year prior. Of course, pitching at Coors Field doesn’t help as their ERA at home was much worse than on the road (5.97 at home vs. 4.41 on road).
The Rockies now are stating they will stick with a 5-man rotation for the 2013 season, but they will still have pitch counts (pitcher dependent) that will be lower than the norm.
Of course if you want to stick with a more conventional thinking of how to improve the pitching in Colorado, improve the defense. The Rockies defense was last in the league in errors and fielding percentage.