As expected, Jeremy Guthrie was pulled from the Colorado Rockies' rotation Tuesday. However, in a pitching move that shows desperate times call for desperate measures, manager Jim Tracy announced the Rockies would go with a four-man rotation and the starters would be on a limit of 75 pitches.
The remaining starters are Alex White, Jeff Francis, Christian Friedrich and Josh Outman, who was pulled after 72 pitches and 4 1/3 innings Tuesday against Philadelphia. Outman gave up five hits and four runs, two on John Mayberry Jr.'s homer in the fourth. The homer broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Phillies on their way to a 7-2 win in the opener of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
The Rockies, who have lost 11 of their past 12 games, fell to 1-3 on their current nine-game road trip and are a season-worst 16 games below .500 at 25-41. When their starter goes less than six innings, which is bound to happen more with this plan, the Rockies are 9-32 overall and 3-15 on the road.
The revised rotation plan comes at the outset of a stretch in which Colorado is scheduled to play 20 consecutive games up to the All-Star break.
"I personally feel that we had to do something that is non-conventional, if you will, and if this doesn't work out, then we'll work on something else," said Tracy, whose starters are 13-31 record with a big-league-worst 6.31 ERA.
When asked whether the 75-pitch limit will be strictly enforced and the starter will have to come out at that point every time, Tracy said, "He has got to come out because he has to pitch four days later. But if he goes five innings, he has pitched you to the point where you can go to a bullpen with some very significant people."
Guthrie is 3-6 with a 7.02 ERA overall and a 9.53 ERA at Coors Field. The Rockies are actively trying to trade him.