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The More Things Change…

By Chris Jacobson

The Rockies are, if nothing else, predictable. Every year the same analysis could be drawn of the boys from Blake Street. “They have production from the lead off position, Tulo starts off slow, Hawpe starts fast and Helton is consistent”. If that were it, all would be fine in Rockieland. The problem is the evaluation of the pitching staff. You can change the names but the story is the same. Pitcher “A” looks great, but “B”, “D” and “E” had better turn it around or it’s going to be a long year (and of course pitcher “C” or De La Rosa looks as good as always). It’s early but the first week of the season could be a microcosm of what this staff may be this year.

Greg Smith filled in for Jeff Francis who looks headed for the DL. Milwaukee beat Smith up taking five runs from him in five innings. Smith, who if nothing else, is supposed to chew up innings and save the relievers. Aaron Cook did a little better than Smith yielding four runs in five innings but like Smith, took a loss and eventually gave up the Rockies’ initial series to the home town Brewers. Jason Hammel played better in his start at Coors Field, better unless you consider the fourth inning in which he gave up four runs and eventually a very winnable game. Hammel learned in an inning just how costly free passes can be walking two before a bases clearing triple.

Not all is doom and gloom for the Rockies however. Ubaldo Jimenez has looked like an all star during his first two starts and Jorge De La Rosa bested both of Jimenez performances with the gem he threw in the Rockies home opener. The relievers, while having a loss are not among the bottom of the pitchers in ERA (those spots being reserved for our “B”, “D” and “E” pitchers). Carlos Gonzales looks like the “real deal” at the leadoff spot. He is hitting just under four hundred and hits the ball hard in seemingly every at bat. While it is hard to believe his average will stay where it is, it is not impossible to think he will continue to pound the ball and continue to put it in play. Ian Stewart has produced timely and well. If Dexter Fowler can start getting on base the top half of the order should be fairly formidable. Combining that idea with the idea that this team will be stellar defensively and the one concern becomes the bottom sixty percent of the rotation. Perhaps Francis comes back and maybe Cook’s first start was just a hiccup in a decent season. Perhaps Greg Smith will start getting deeper into games or be relegated into a middle relief role and Jason Hammel will win close to half of his games (which is all he needs to do).

This may sound a lot of maybes for a team trying to go deep into the playoffs but in the grand scheme it may be just fine. They don’t need every scenario to work out. De La Rosa and Jimenez could win thirty five games by themselves. If Francis and Cook can combine for twenty or twenty five more this team should be able to compete all season long.

1 comment:

  1. Nice havng Chris back wtiting again. I enjoy his view, nice job Chris.

    ReplyDelete