The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - Colorado Rockies - INSIDE PITCH

DENVER -- When reliever Matt Belisle arrived at Coors Field on Friday, he received the unexpected news that he would be starting hours later against the Cincinnati Reds.

Franklin Morales was scheduled to start, but his wife went into labor, forcing the Rockies, in the words of manager Walt Weiss, to "improvise a little bit."

Curiously, Belisle first reached the big leagues with the Reds. He made 43 starts for them, the last on May 25, 2008. That was the last time Belisle started in the majors. He joined the Rockies organization in 2009 and has made 380 relief appearances for the Rockies, including 54 this season.

Before the Rockies 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Weiss said he expected Belisle to throw about 45 pitches, which ideally would be three innings. Belisle went that distance, throwing 49 pitches, 37 for strikes, and allowing one run.

On Thursday, Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa pitched seven innings, making it easier for Weiss to turn Friday's game over to his bullpen.

"Fortunately, Jorge going as long as he did last night gave the bullpen a break. And we're in a decent position to get through this game."

Weiss said Belisle's past experience as a starter, while not recent, factored in his decision to turn to Belisle. Also, the other alternative was Juan Nicasio, who began the season as a starter but is now pitching out of the bullpen. However, Nicasio threw 34 pitches while working two scoreless innings Wednesday.

Nicasio did enter Friday's game in the sixth and retired the side in order on three ground balls to shortstop. He was the third of six relievers Weiss used while Reds ace Johnny Cueto worked eight innings.

"Really proud of the guys the way they stepped up tonight," Weiss said. "We were in a really tough spot. The bullpen did a (heck) of a job giving us a chance to win against a Cy Young caliber guy."

Morales has bounced between the bullpen and rotation this season, making 16 starts and 12 relief appearances and has made two starts since returning to the rotation Aug. 5.

Triple-A Colorado Springs is playing a series in Sacramento, which left the Rockies without enough time to call up a pitcher to start Friday night. So the choice was to start Belisle, turn the game over to other members of the bullpen and hope Morales might return Saturday to stabilize the bullpen after it was taxed Friday.

"Obviously, we're going to be in rough shape tomorrow," Weiss said. "If Frankie is available tomorrow, we'll probably plus him into the bullpen to protect the 'pen. If he's not available tomorrow, we'll have to go to Plan B."


MLB Team Report - Colorado Rockies - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 61-61

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Reds (RHP Dylan Axelrod, 2014 debut) at Rockies (RHP Jordan Lyles, 6-1, 3.70 ERA)