Troy Tulowitzki and Charlie Blackmon say the Rockies can rebound, become relevant and get back in the postseason chase.

Seriously.

Perhaps it was the good vibrations from being in the All-Star Game that inspired such optimism, or maybe they simply can't bear to deal with the alternative reality, but that's what the duo said earlier this week in Minneapolis.

As the Rockies resume their season Friday night at Pittsburgh, they are in fourth place in the National League West with a 40-55 record, 13 games out of first place and 12 games back in the NL wild-card chase. Since a 25-20 start, the Rockies have gone 15-35 in their past 50 games. They are on pace to finish 68-94.

But Blackmon believes getting key players such as third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez back just before the all-star break will lead to a turnaround.


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"I think we're really close, I really do," Blackmon said. "A lot of those games could've gone either way, and then lately they went in the wrong direction. We were right there the whole time.

"I think we'll be back in good shape. I think we're only going to get more healthy as to where other teams, at this point in the year, guys are getting tired."

Tulo's point of view is a bit more pointed.

"Our pitching needs to be more consistent," he said. "Those guys need to go deeper into games."

There is no getting around the fact that Colorado's injury-riddled starting pitching has been horrendous, as its 5.33 ERA illustrates.

In 95 games, Colorado has used 13 starting pitchers, with only five of them making more than 10 starts. More bad news arrived Thursday when the club confirmed that right-hander Tyler Chatwood is out for the season and will undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery next week.

Only lefty Jorge De La Rosa (10-6, 4.56 ERA in 19 starts), righty Jordan Lyles (5-1, 3.52 in 12 starts before breaking his left hand on June 4) and Chatwood (1-0, 4.50 in four starts before his April injury) were above .500. Lyles was moved to the 60-day disabled list on Sunday when it was discovered that has hand has not completely healed. When he'll return remains a major question mark.

The Rockies are counting on lefty Brett Anderson and rookie right-hander Eddie Butler to help turn things around, but that's mighty wishful thinking.

Anderson returned from the disabled list on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins in the final game before the all-star break and gave up five first-inning runs. He righted the ship, a bit, and left with the Rockies trailing 6-5 after six innings. But Colorado's bullpen imploded, again, and the Twins cruised to a 13-5 victory. The overworked bullpen, by the way, has a 4.70 ERA — by far the worst in the National League.

Charlie Blackmon, left, and Carlos Gonzalez, right, meet Troy Tulowitzki at home plate after his home run in the second inning of a game against the
Charlie Blackmon, left, and Carlos Gonzalez, right, meet Troy Tulowitzki at home plate after his home run in the second inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, April 18, 2014, at Coors Field. (Karl Gehring, The Denver Post)

Butler made only one start before shoulder inflammation shut him down. He's begun his minor-league rehab assignments and should be back in the rotation on Tuesday when the Rockies host Washington at Coors Field.

Injuries devastated Colorado's lineup in the first half of the season, there is no getting around that. Consider: Gonzalez missed 40 games; Arenado missed 37 games; outfielder Michael Cuddyer missed 64 games and might not play again this season; Catcher Wilin Rosario missed 30 games.

"We have to be healthy," Tulowitzki said as he looked toward the second half. "So many key people went down. So they are coming back, and when we have them we are very talented."

But Tulo also wants to make sure the Rockies don't lean on injuries as an easy excuse.

"(We can't) give into that and say, 'Hey, we are having a really bad year," he said. "(We can't) start feeling sorry for ourselves. We have to bring it every single day."

Tulo's constant mantra throughout the losing has been that Rockies rallied in the second half in both 2007 and 2009 and made the playoffs. It's a brave rallying cry, but the numbers are sobering. In 2007, the Rockies were 48-47 after 95 games and it still required winning 14 of their last 15 regular-season games to make the playoffs.

In 2009, the Rockies were 52-43 after 95 games and they played consistent, quality baseball to finish 92-70 — the best regular season in franchise history.

These Rockies don't look at all like those Rockies.

Patrick Saunders: psaunders@denverpost.com or twitter.com/psaundersdp


Rockies raw numbers

.300: Winning percentage over the past 50 games (15-35)

4.70: Bullpen ERA, worst in the National League

5.33: Staters' ERA, worst in the Nationa League

13: Starting pitchers used so far this season

68: Games Rockies are on pace to win

Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post

Looking ahead

Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa (10-6, 4.56 ERA) at Pirates' Francisco Liriano (1-7, 4.72), 5:05 p.m. Friday, ROOT; 850 AM

The Rockies will reset their pitching rotation coming out of the all-star break to something that resembles a top-down ranking. De La Rosa, the team's ace and its first to 10 victories this season, starts Friday. He's more than halfway to his 16-win total from last season. But his ERA is up (from 3.49 in 2013) even though his WHIP is down (1.38 walks and hits allowed per inning in 2013 to 1.31 this season). Brett Anderson and Tyler Matzek are up next. Then Eddie Butler and Franklin Morales are likely to follow. Nick Groke, The Denver Post

Saturday: Rockies' Brett Anderson (0-3, 4.95 ERA) at Pirates' Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.32), 5:05 p.m., ROOT

Sunday: Rockies' Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.97) at Pirates' Jeff Locke (2-1, 2.89), 11:35 a.m., ROOT