Jeff Bridich: Bullpen help the priority at the deadline

Colorado Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich joined SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio on Tuesday morning and suggested that his top priority as the trade deadline approaches is adding help in the bullpen.

Colorado’s need for a lockdown arm in the pen was evident on Monday night in a 9-6 victory over the San Diego Padres that saw Rockies manager Bud Black forced to use four different relievers to work out of the eighth inning. Colorado entered the eighth with a six-run lead before Jake McGee, Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn yielded three runs while earning just two outs. Scott Oberg gave up a hit but did not allow a run before retiring the final hitter of the inning.

After starting the year with one of the best bullpens in baseball through April, the Rockies have seen a slow erosion over the months of May, June and into July. They now claim a 4.44 bullpen ERA, which ranks 11th in the National League.

Outside of NL saves leader Greg Holland (1-1, 29 saves, 1.57 ERA) and long reliever Chris Rusin (3-0, 7 holds, 2.36 ERA), Colorado’s bullpen has been inconsistent at best. McGee has shown flashes of dominance, but Monday didn’t retire any of the three hitters he faced in the eighth. He’s been hot and cold like that for much of the season. Ottavino has lost command on his signature slider, Dunn is giving up nearly a hit per inning and Oberg has a team-high WHIP of 1.634.

The bullpen hasn’t been helped much by the starting rotation, which has also been unsteady of late. Over the weekend, starters Jon Gray and Tyler Chatwood retired just seven batters between them while allowing 12 runs in a pair of losses to the Mets to open the second half of the season.

Despite a rough outing in New York, Bridich reinforced at least some confidence in Gray on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio.

Citing “conventional wisdom” isn’t exactly a glowing endorsement, however. Colorado will certainly need more success from the starters if any bullpen moves will play dividends.

Colorado has been blessed with a quartet of surprising young starters. However, the Rockies also much watch the workload on their rookie arms.

Antonio Senzatela, who will start Tuesday against the Padres, was already moved to the bullpen and then sent to Triple-A to lessen his workload. A similar plan may be in place for Kyle Freeland.

Jeff Hoffman had the benefit of coming up later in the year, but he will also be on a pitch and innings watch. German Marquez, the youngest of Colorado’s young starters, already has 83 innings to his credit this season.

Bridich may be targeting bullpen help as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, but his club may be in greater need than just that if they hope to stay in the Wild Card race.

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