Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales are the last two pitchers on a 12-man staff. Manager Jim Tracy typically uses them when the Rockies are behind, and their job in close games is to keep matters under control, prevent further damage and, hence, give the Rockies a chance to win.
Neither reliever has performed well, Sunday being the latest example when their collective stumbles took away any chance the Rockies had to win. In the 8-2 loss to the Padres, Morales relieved starter Jason Hammel with one out in the seventh and the Padres leading 4-2 and runners on first and second.
On the first and only pitch he threw, Morales gave up a run-scoring double to left-handed hitting Will Venable, putting the Padres ahead 5-2. On came Paulino, who fell behind Jason Bartlett 2-0 and on the next pitch gave up a two-run double, making it 12 times in 16 games that Paulino has failed to retire his first batter faced. After striking out Jorge Cantu, Paulino gave up a run-scoring single to Brad Hawpe, completing the Padres' five-run inning and putting the Rockies in a deep hole they had no chance of escaping.
Manager Jim Tracy is preaching patience with Morales and Paulino, just like he did two years ago with outfielder Carlos Gonzalez when he came up from Triple-A in early June and struggled until the second half of the season. But the Rockies have been waiting seemingly forever for Morales' strong arm to translate into results and have given Paulino, who was acquired from Houston for infielder Clint Barmes in November, ample opportunities this season.
In right-hander Matt Daley and lefty Rex Brothers, the Rockies have two relievers pitching well at Class AAA Colorado Springs -- a very challenging place to pitch -- who could replace Paulino and Morales.
Daley, who has pitched for the Rockies in each of the last two seasons, a total of 85 games, is 0-0 with a 1.98 ERA and three walks and 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
Brothers, who is pitching at Triple-A for the first time this season, is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA with eight walks and 35 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.
Morales, 25, has a deceptive 3.86 ERA but has allowed 18 baserunners in 14 innings. On May 12, he gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to Carlos Beltran that gave the Mets a 7-2 lead and made the Rockies' three-run seventh only more frustrating.
On May 7 at San Francisco, Morales took over for Paulino in the ninth with runners on first and second, no out and the game tied at 3. Morales threw a wild pitch followed by a walk-off sacrifice fly to Mike Fontenot.
Opponents are hitting .375 against Paulino, who is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 16 games and has allowed 21 hits and six walks in 13 1/3 innings. From May 3-7, Paulino lost three straight appearances in games the Rockies lost 4-3 at Arizona and 4-3 and 3-2 at San Francisco. In those three games, Paulino allowed five hits and three runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Paulino and Morales are out of minor league options, which means the Rockies would have to expose them to waivers before they could be sent to Triple-A.
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