Where Do Colorado Rockies Go from Here?

Bob LockeContributor IMay 8, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 02:  Manager Clint Hurdle of the Colorado Rockies walks off the field during their game against the San Francisco Giants on May 2, 2009 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With Thursday's 8-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants, the Colorado Rockies completed a 19-game stretch against NL West opponents with a 7-12 record (11-16 overall).

The questions are numerous, and apparently without many answers at the moment.

Will this team ever learn how to win close games? They are 0-8 in one-run games.

Who is the closer? Who pitches in front of him? What is the plan for Manny Corpas?

The bullpen ERA prior to today's game stood at 4.93, and their combined record was 3-7.

Is the offense going to find a way to score runs consistently or late in games? They are 2-14 in games where the team has been trailing or tied after six innings.

Will the starting rotation find some semblance of consistency?

Actually, the last several starts have largely been very good (three earned runs or fewer allowed in six straight outings before Thursday), and the starters' composite ERA coming into the series finale stood at 4.49 with an 8-8 record.

It would appear that, at this particular moment in time, the starting pitching is actually the strength of this team. Anyone who predicted that coming out of spring training, please move to the head of the class.

There are some signs of life, though.

Chris Iannetta has been tearing the cover off the ball of late. On April 26, his line was .128/.292/.308 (.600 OPS) with two HR and two RBI. Eleven days later, he sits at .200/.342/.517 (.861 OPS) with six HR and 11 RBI.

Huston Street has not allowed an earned run in his last four appearances (three IP) and has given up just one hit with three strikeouts and one walk over that span.

Those two were counted on heavily going into the season, and getting them both on track would go a long way toward righting the ship. They just need to maintain something close to their recent level of performance going forward.

If Troy Tulowitzki and Garrett Atkins can get it going at the plate, the offense should be in the top quarter of the NL in terms of run production. The Rockies are currently fifth in that department with only minimal help from those two.

The bullpen appears to be the biggest concern at the moment, and frankly I think this is an area where Clint Hurdle has demonstrated his greatest weakness. He just appears clueless at times at handling the relief corps.

Dan O'Dowd has some pieces with which to make a trade for relief help if in fact it is determined that the problem is talent instead of teaching. If it's the latter, then Bob Apodaca may need to be shown the door soon, and Hurdle will have to follow if things continue on their current track for much longer.

The Diamondbacks are above the Rockies in the standings, and Bob Melvin was fired prior to Thursday night's game. If I were Hurdle, I'd take strong note of that.