Bridich challenges Rockies to play better
GM sees main issues as lack of hitting with RISP, poor execution from rotation
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Monday that the team's current nine-game losing streak is equally due to the underperformance of the offense and the pitching staff, and he challenged the players to play better.
"We have a good collection of players," said Bridich, the first-year GM whose team is 11-17 and last in the National League West. "And at this point, meaning the last two weeks of the season, they've added up to a bad team. I don't think there's any other way you can look at it. That's not saying anything shocking. The players know that.
"There are bad stretches that befall every team in a season, or most every team in a season. This is where we see what type of resolve our players have -- if they take a look around that clubhouse and deal with reality as adults and say, 'We're going to make some changes and do things necessary to start winning games.'"
Bridich said the problem isn't manager Walt Weiss or the coaching staff, and he likes this roster, when it performs to its potential.
"I continue to believe in our guys, but when you have to make changes like we did with [lefty reliever] Tyler Matzek [who was sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque over the weekend], when it's in the best interest of the team and the player, you go ahead and give somebody else an opportunity," Bridich said.
Asked whether more dramatic moves are on the horizon, such as trading high-priced shortstop Troy Tulowitzki or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, Bridich said, "No, it's early in May. If and when those situations come up, we'll deal with that then."
As for whether he sees pitching or the hitting as the bigger culprit, Bridich said: "They're both equal."
Rockies starters have logged the Majors' fewest innings (143, 14 1/3 fewer than the 29th-ranked team, the White Sox, in the same number of games) and the highest ERA (5.66). Colorado's rotation was a known potential weakness because of its lack of established performers, but Bridich sees shortcomings in execution, rather than talent.
"Our starters, specifically in terms of attacking the zone and the free passes and hit batters, are a huge issue, but it's a byproduct of feeling pressure to make the perfect pitch and not commanding the fastball in the zone," Bridich said. "It's pretty basic, fundamental baseball-type stuff."
The Rockies lead the NL and are second in the Majors in hitting at .274, and fifth in OPS at .761 heading into play Monday, but somehow have managed to score the fourth-fewest runs at 113. Granted, recent rainouts have limited Colorado to 28 games -- the fewest in the NL -- but 4.03 runs per game is nowhere near the club's capability.
"Just flat out, our hitters aren't driving in runs, and it's very nearly a complete-team failure and an issue at this point," Bridich said. "It's tough to point fingers. We're just not doing well enough at moving runners and putting us in good run-scoring situations like we were early in the season.
"We're not taking good at-bats when we do have those situations, in terms of swinging at good pitches or putting pitchers in undesirable situations."
Bridich sees the answer as the Rockies playing in a similar manner to when they began the season 7-2.
"Not that we were a perfect team in early April, but we did things to push across enough runs to win a game, and we pitched well enough to win a game," he said. "Those things aren't happening now.
"It doesn't mean we've got bad players or we're going to have a bad team for the entire season. But I don't think there's any two ways about it. Lately, we've been a bad team."