Is Tulowitzki the Last Piece of the Puzzle for the Struggling Rockies?

Andrew MorrowContributor IJuly 8, 2008

As of right now, the Colorado Rockies are sitting in fourth place in the National League West with a record of 38-52. Interestingly enough, just  one year ago at this time they were also in fourth place, albeit they were at .500.

The 2008 season has been surprisingly disappointing for the Rockies, who are just one season removed from their miraculous 21-1 streak and the NLCS championship. Despite this season's struggles there has been a few bright spots in the coming of age of Chris Iannetta, Jeff Baker, and Clint Barmes.

Seven-year veteran Aaron Cook has also been a pleasant surprise and is one of the two All-Stars in this year's squad alongsidethree-time All-Star Matt Holliday.

With that said however, the Rockies are still one piece of the puzzle short. That piece is young Troy Tulowitzki, one of the runner-ups for ROY last season. After coming off of a superb rookie season he has been less than stellar so far. In 39 games he has batted .166 with an OBP of .246, and only three HRs.

On April 29th, in a 3-2 road win over San Fransisco Giants, "Tulo" tore a left quadriceps tendon in the first inning of the game. He wasn't originally in the starting lineup for the game however; he was later put in at the last minute after Jeff Baker broke a blood vessel in his throwing hand during pregame warm-ups. He came back on June 20th only to go 0-4.

On July fifth Tulowitzki lacerated his hand in a freak accident.

After being taken out in the seventh inning as part of a double switch, Tulowitzki walked down to the dugout hallway and smashed a bat to the ground in frustration. The bat cracked in his right hand, causing a laceration that stretched from his palm to his index finger. He received 16 stitches.

I personally don't blame him. If I was playing that bad I would be a little angry as well.

This has been a sophomore slump for the ages for Tulowitzki. He is threatening to create a new "Line" for sub-standard batting averages . Instead of the Mendoza Line, it might have to be renamed the "Tulo Line" if he keeps this up.

If the Rockies are going to make a run for the lead of the dismal NL West, Tulo needs to step his game up. Only a return to his former self can help the Rockies now. The last piece to the puzzle.