Colorado Rockies Need To Put Best Eight on the Field Despite Their Status

Nic HalliseyCorrespondent IApril 21, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 06:  Ian Stewart #9 of the Colorado Rockies hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning of the MLB openning day game at Chase Field on April 6, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 9-8.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

There is no question in any fan’s mind that the Rockies desperately need to turn things around.


Yes, it’s early in the season, but this isn’t exactly the quick start we all were looking for.


The biggest issue, without a doubt, is the pitching. But, for a moment, I’m going to push that aside and focus on the offense.


I believe the club has one of the most solid lineups one through eight as any other team. I wrote during Spring Training that they have power and great hitters both in the starting lineup and coming off the bench, and I still stand by that.


The offense showed up the first four games and then caved in. I won’t go into detail. We all know that we’re not getting hits with runners on, we’re not getting runs across the plate, and we’re striking out at an alarming rate. The Rockies scored 30 runs in their first four games but have combined for just 27 in the last eight.


I’m no expert with handling lineups, and that is why I am a fan sitting at home rather than actually managing the team, but here is a thought: Put the best players in the lineup each day.


Seems obvious, right? Isn’t that the intention of every team?


Todd Helton was crushing the ball in Spring Training, but since the regular season has begun, he's hitting .231.


Chris Iannetta earned his starting role last season but has just three hits in 27 at-bats in 2009.


Even Garrett Atkins, who went on a spurt where he tore the cover off the ball, is now hitting .191.


The point is, these are all players who are considered “starters.” They are on the team to lead them. But right now, they aren’t doing it.


Because of their status and the capabilities they have shown in the past, they continue to be in the lineup despite their struggles.


Most readers probably think it would be crazy to take Atkins out of the lineup. And, yes, I do believe that he will bounce back and recover from his slump. But, for the time being, put the best players in.


Ryan Spilborghs started out strong but has since struggled. Take him out and give Dexter Fowler and others time to prove themselves.


Give Ian Stewart a chance at third base, his primary position, while Atkins and Helton are struggling. Stewart leads the team with a .375 batting average, .467 on-base percentage, and a .792 slugging percentage to lead the team. He has six runs scored (tied for second) and seven RBI (second on team) despite just 24 at-bats. He is tied with or ahead of Atkins in every offensive category despite half the at-bats.


I do agree that these struggling players aren’t going to get better riding the pine, but there is too much depth on this roster to let talent sit while starters are struggling.


Give some of the starters a few days off to clear their minds while others get a chance.


If someone isn’t getting it done, let someone else prove their worth, despite their status.



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