As a big supporter of the Colorado Rockies, the 2012 season has become one of the hardest ones to watch since 2007.
With all of the talent the management brought in to bolster the offense before the season, it seemed as though this team could really do some damage in the never-relevant NL West.
Then, the season started.
Since Opening Day, pitching has been the clear weakness of this team. In terms of MLB rankings, they rank fourth in total runs scored, seventh in batting average and on-base percentage and third in slugging percentage.
Looking at those rankings, it seems pretty difficult to believe the Rockies are in the same category as the Cubs, Padres and Twins this year—until you see the pitching rankings.
The Rockies pitching isn't just close to the bottom in the league, it is literally the worst staff in all of baseball. The Rockies pitching staff ranks dead last in total ERA, total quality starts, WHIP and batting average against.
It is not inconceivable to believe the Rockies might just have a worse record than the Cubs and Padres without such a potent offense.
This brings us to the question that has dominated the discussions among fans this season: Whose fault is this whole thing?
Sadly, most fans believe the coaching staff and management are to blame.
I truly believe this could not be further from the truth. However, in today's "what have you done for me lately" sports landscape, this shouldn't be surprising.
What fans fail to realize is that Jim Tracy has a fantastic baseball mind. Sure, there are many times when he leaves his pitcher on the mound an out or two too long, but what manager has never done that?
As a manager, your job is to put players you trust to execute on the field. So far, Tracy has been able to trust his offense in most games this season, seeing as they've scored an average of 5.1 runs per game.
When it comes to pitching though, he has given his pitchers every chance in the world to prove they are good enough to pitch well at this level. And with the exception of Christian Friedrich and Alex White, none of the Rockies' starting pitchers has proven themselves worthy of a spot in the rotation.
It is safe to answer the question above accurately: The players, more specifically, the pitchers must be blamed for this year's struggles.
In a response to this, the same fans who are calling for the firing of Jim Tracy are calling for the firing of pitching coach Bob Apodaca.
This makes as little sense as calling for the firing of Tracy.
As a coach, you can do only so much to make sure your players go out and succeed on the field. Really all Apodaca can do is look for problems in his pitchers' deliveries and tell them what is happening and how to fix them. However, it is up to the pitcher to actually fix those problems.
The effect coaches actually have on any given game is extremely minimal. Sure, the manager can make certain changes that affect the outcome of the game, but that type of change rarely happens.
That being said, if you're going to blame a group of people for the Rockies' struggles this year, don't blame the coaching staff. Blame the players. The players are the ones actually going out there to play.
If you were one who truly blamed the players, you'd be wanting the Rockies to get rid of Jeremy Guthrie, who has a 6.91 ERA with a .328 BAA and has given up 15 HR. That is not Major League material. And you'd likely be wanting the Rockies to call Drew Pomeranz back up to allow him to work out his problems at the MLB level.
Hold the players accountable for doing what they're being paid to do. They're making way more money than the coaching staff.
Be a responsible Rockies fan and don't put this year's struggles on the coaching staff. They are doing what they can to right the ship. The pitchers just aren't responding.
The saying goes, "You can bring a horse to the river, but you can't make him drink." The coaches can't make the pitchers pitch well. The pitchers can make themselves pitch well.
I beg of you, start holding the players accountable. If you do that, you might just see some major changes made on the pitching staff.