How the Rockies can beat the Phillies: Sit Franklin Morales

Today's Denver Post quotes relief pitcher Franklin Morales as saying he's "ready" for the Philadelphia Phillies -- and the use of quotes in the headline suggests some appropriate editorializing on the part of the Post sports staff. On Saturday night, Morales was horrendous while inadvertently helping the L.A. Dodgers secure the National League West crown. Yet manager Jim Tracy left him in so long that when the FSN broadcasting team reported that the phone to the bullpen wasn't working properly, I found myself wondering why the hell somebody didn't run out to the mound and tackle him before he turned to the plate again.

Morales' performance in the 5-0 loss was no surprise. An appearance against the San Diego Padres in late September was so grim that I wrote, "Note: From this point on, Franklin Morales' pitch count should be one. If his first throw isn't the most astonishing strike ever hurled, his ass should be re-introduced to the bench until his contract expires." The Post points out that Morales has been deadly (in a good way) against the Phillies. But if he's included on the Rockies' post-season roster -- the decision must be finalized early Wednesday morning -- Tracy needs to keep him on so short a leash that he'll have to stand on the mound beside him.

If any major national baseball commentator has picked Colorado to beat the Phils, I haven't seen it. Still, the Rockies have defied the odds time and again throughout the year, and given the return of Aaron Cook, Huston Street and the Rockies' timely hitting, a series win wouldn't even be an upset in my view -- just more proof that the team remains under the radar of the East Coast-dominated press despite what happened in 2007. But relying on Morales for middle relief these days is like expecting a ninety-degree day in early October. If you guess right, then wearing those swim trunks was a great idea. If you don't, it's gonna get mighty uncomfortable mighty fast.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts