You'd think the Rockies' victory tonight against their nemeses in Los Angeles would spare Clint Hurdle the tongue-lashing he had coming after his mismanagement of Tuesday's game, but you'd be wrong. Clint is hurting the rotation and the bullpen alike with his fixation on running starters out there for the seventh and eighth innings. If Colorado had a consistent problem with starters going deep and the bullpen was running on fumes, it would be one thing. Maybe being manager in Denver so long has broken Clint's brain. That would explain the soul patch, at least. But until a few starts ago Byung-Hyun Kim had basically never pitched seven-plus innings in the big leagues. Now Hurdle wants him to throw a complete game every time out. This is stupid. The Rockies have a lot of talented relief pitchers who are being set up to fail by Hurdle's random usage patterns. In a one-run game against the hottest team in baseball, would it have been the absolute worst thing in the world to bring a reliever after Kim, the fifth starter, pitched six fine innings? No. A lot of things are worse.
The Rockies didn't get burned tonight, even after Manuel Corpas hit the first guy he came on to face, because Corpas, Jeremy Affeldt, and Brian Fuentes got the job done. The Rockies have a lot of guys like this. Who knows what Ramon Ramirez might have done on Tuesday had he come in at the beginning of the inning rather than after Kim gave up the lead. Jose Mesa and Ray King are still Rockies. Remember when Tom Martin was Hurdle's favorite guy in the pen? He's pitched two innings in the month of August.
It's nice to have good starters. You win games with good starters. But it's time to start treating every game like a playoff game. While Kim's pitch count wasn't terribly high the other night, Hurdle needs to start showing as much faith in his bullpen as he does in his rotation. If the Rockies are going to keep the p***o** dream alive, they need the whole seven-man crew sharp. And with the way their offense is performing, they have to protect one-run leads with the tenacity of some sort of really tenacious thing.