I'm looking for something good to say about the three-game set the Colorado Rockies just completed at Chavez Ravine with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The only thing that comes to mind is this: I'm glad it's over.
Kurt Russell wasn't as happy to escape from L.A. back in 1996 as Clint Hurdle is today.
I can see only two bright spots from the entire series: Jorge De la Rosa's encouraging start on Friday when he found a way to pitch himself out of a number of jams, and Rockies' hitters swatting four home runs in the series.
Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez, the two starters counted on to anchor the rotation this year, went a combined 8 1/3 innings in their starts this series, allowing twelve earned runs. Their season ERA's after three starts apiece sit at 10.22 and 6.00, respectively.
Franklin Morales will need a roster spot when he's recalled from AAA to start on Tuesday in Phoenix, and Matt Belisle has made the choice a pretty easy one. His two relief outings against the Dodgers resulted in 1/3 of an inning pitched and seven earned runs.
After batting a crisp .295 with runners in scoring position thru the first eight games, Rockies' batters managed a paltry 1-for-20 against the Dodgers, with the one hit being an infield single by Ubaldo Jimenez that didn't drive home a run. They got the job done with two sacrifice flies, something largely missing last year, and they drew five walks in those situations as well.
But hitting .050 with RISP over a three-game series? Not even close to good enough, and the results bore that out.
Ian Stewart continues to make his case for more regular playing time, and Hurdle continues to fill out lineup cards that don't include Stewart's name. Ian rocked his second home run of the season this series and added his first steal to boot. The kid is producing, and he needs to be playing. That's the bottom line.
The Rockies will hand the ball to Jason Marquis, their most effective starter in the early going, for the first game in Phoenix tomorrow. Morales will follow him on Tuesday. I won't say the season is on the line, but this team could slip into a very deep hole if they don't find a way to once again take two out of three from the Diamondbacks on the road.
Coming out of spring training, my prediction for their first 14 games was 6-8 on the high side and 5-9 on the low, based on the difficulty of the opening schedule. They head to Phoenix at 4-7, losers of three in a row, and needing to find ways to win games instead of losing them.
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