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Boy I Hate Being Right

By Chris Jacobson

I made a promise I wouldn’t be the pessimist knocking the first place Rockies again this season. A deal’s a deal, but here’s the rub; when I said that the Rock Show had a 4 ½ game lead in the division and a soft schedule to open the month of May. Two weeks later, instead of using their powder puff schedule to extend their lead the under-producing Rockies are out of first and struggling at the plate and the mound. The Rockies are 3-9 during to start the month and have only played one team with a winning record during the stretch.

Despite this, it’s not all doom and gloom. Chris Ianetta has been better than his usual self. Granted he’s still batting in the low .220s he has proven clutch and no one expects him to bat near .300. Tulo and Cargo are showing signs of life and have begun to raise their averages. Seth Smith and Todd Helton have played well and great respectively and Jonathan Herrera has lingered somewhere between surprising and fantastic.

The mound has been hit and miss as well. Houston Street was perfect for so long it’s hard to tell if he’s been figured out or he’s been unlucky. It’s probably a combination of the two but perhaps it’s time to give off season acquisition Matt Lindstrom a few shots at closing. He has only surrendered three runs in his nineteen appearances so far this season. Jason Hammel has been pedestrian but has gone six or more innings in six of seven starts. Jhoulys Chacin has had a few speed bumps but looks to be on the cusp of stardom. Jorge De La Rosa looks hittable but, as he has for his career, just keeps winning and Ubaldo Jimenez, despite his record, has looked better than he did earlier this season. For the pitchers, the problem has been walks. Ubaldo has walked 19 batters in his last 18 innings pitched. De La Rosa has walked 20 batters thus far and seen far too many of them score. Overall, the Rockies pitching staff is 11th in the NL in walks and when combined with their 23rd in the majors batting average (.238) this team is destined for mediocrity until something gives.

It’s time for the Rockies to make a few changes. Swap Helton and Cargo in the order; Helton has earned it and Cargo may need a wake up call. Make Herrera and Ty Wigginton full time players. Herrera has solidly beaten out any competition and Wigginton is certainly the best of a very suspect bunch. Get Lindstrom some closes and eliminate some walks. The time seems to have past to acquire Michael Young, as the Rangers can’t be far from making him a full time starter again but there are guys that can be had from their respective sinking ships; two such third basemen being Alex Gordon from the ever salary dumping Kansas City Royals and Aramis Ramirez from the perpetually terrible Chicago Cubs.

Every team slumps, the good ones (see the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays) battle back and the bad ones (see the White Sox and the Dodgers) let adversity hinder them season in and season out. Hopefully the Rockies more closely resemble the Red Sox than the white ones. There is no question that this team has talent, the most in the division, but it’s going to be interesting to see when they start using it.

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