After years of talks and crunching numbers, the Rockies attempted the four-man experiment because their free-fall by June made it a plausible path. It wasn’t so much a failure — the Rockies’ starters numbers improved slightly — as a model impossible to sustain for the season’s first five months.
An army of arms in Colorado Springs — all with minor-league options — would be necessary to make it work. Even future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, who set a record for bullpen moves in the last World Series, said he didn’t see how a four-man staff on a 75-pitch count could be pulled off long-term.
The idea was to force starters to become more efficient, to understand the value of pitching to contact. Instead, they became prisoners of the pitch count.