The prospect game is all about patience, and Rockies fans are fresh out of that.

As Colorado skipper Walt Weiss indicated to the home plate umpire Monday night that there would be a double switch to begin the seventh inning, you could already see and hear the disbelief spread throughout the Rockies faithful.

They’re pulling him with only 75 pitches after six innings of one-hit baseball? What are they thinking?

Indeed, Jon Gray turned in a superb outing that night, exiting the game with the 2-1 lead and a chance for his first major league win in dominant fashion against a team as hot as any in the National League. He handed the ball to a depleted and underachieving bullpen, and anyone who has followed the Rockies for any length of time didn’t have to watch the game to know what happened next.

That it took Justin Miller and Boone Logan less than an inning to surrender what Gray took six to build must have been doubly bitter for those same fans. Vindication is of little comfort as the team you pull for takes another chunk of confidence out of its young core with another seemingly bungling maneuver.

Unfortunately for that segment of Rockies fans, things aren’t going to get much better anytime soon. The next competent pitching staff that the club has a chance to field features a guy struggling to make it as a big league pitcher (Eddie Butler), a guy with two big league starts (Gray), a guy just acquired from Toronto (Jeff Hoffman), and two guys recovering from elbow problems (Chad Bettis and Tyler Chatwood).  Doesn’t exactly sound like a plan that’s going to come together over the offseason.

The fact is that rebuilding is a process that is best done with a portion of brutal honesty and no small amount of goodwill built up with your fan base. Unfortunately, the Rockies have spent most of their existence preaching blind trust with no results to speak of, so the club will likely have neither advantage when it comes to the court of public opinion over the course of the arduous process that lies ahead.

While one can hardly fault the Rockies’ faithful for feeling this way, and far be it from me to deprive anyone of their well-earned angst against the Monforts, it should be noted that simply because the club has a poor track record of success does not necessarily mean that they will never develop a pitching staff that can compete for a World Series. Nor does it mean in the short term that the club is wrong for the way that they are handling Gray’s development.

Consider that last season, Gray’s first full year as a professional, he threw just over 124 innings. While the roughly 35 innings that Colorado plans to throw Gray this season may not sound like much, they combine with his 114 innings in AAA this year for a total of around 150, setting him up for 180 innings in his first full season as a big leaguer in 2016. Sound a little better?

Of course, the argument can be made that Gray’s 75 pitch count was excessively low. After all, of his 21 starts for Albuquerque this year, only in his final game with the Isotopes did the big right-hander fail to top the 80-pitch plateau, and even then, Gray had not surrendered a run in the game through five frames.

But the fact remains that with nothing on the line this season, Rockies fans are talking about a different “game” than the club is playing at the moment. Gray’s grounds for being in the big leagues is to get the final stretching out of the season done at the big league level in preparation for the first year that counts for the youngster: 2016. The day-to-day around Gray’s starts has very little to do with wins and losses, and everything to do with getting him through about 150 innings without any health problems.

Fans have raised other reasonable points regarding the handling of Gray. With the trading of Tulowitzki, Colorado could risk alienating a core of young, impressionable players like Nolan Arenado who reach a boiling point of frustration with all of the losing. Compounding an already difficult season with decisions that wind up costing games in the name of ‘the future’ is never a popular stance with players who have to go out and play in the here and now.

But even Arenado can recognize the value of having Gray for a healthy 180 innings in 2016 rather than one or two extra innings against the Mets in a lost 2015 season.

The Rockies could explain all this of course, but they never do. And really, that’s the crux of the entire issue. A club that has produced very little and asked for undying, blind loyalty is once again imploring their fans to trust them to handle a pitching prospect the right way.

Until they deliver at least once, the patience of their fan base will continue to elude them.