Cook Steps It Up, Rockies Avoid Sweep
Home is a good place for Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook.
The hometown pitcher finally looked like the pitcher who represented the Rockies in the All-Star game in 2008. He pitched seven innings, shutting out the Reds on six hits. He struck out five and his only walk was intentional.
It has been well documented that Cook has struggled on the road. Until Sunday, he had failed to win a game away from Coors Field since August of 2009.
Maybe he just needed to be in his other home. Cook pitched in front of his family and friends, who made the short 20 minute drive from his hometown of Hamilton to watch him pitch.
Cook was successful because he utilized his sinker more than his four-seamed fastball and curveball. The righty spent the entire first half of the season trying to reinvent himself. It almost seemed as if Cook was trying to prove to himself that he could be a power pitcher. The only thing that he proved was that he is ineffective if he is not relying heavily on his sinker.
Cook was helped out by catcher Chris Iannetta, who launched a two-out, two-strike pitch into the seats in left field to get the Rockies on the board.
With the Rockies up 1-0 in the 9th inning, Huston Street looked like he might falter for the first time in a save opportunity since returning from the disabled list. After getting a quick strikeout, Drew Stubbs poked a slider into center field. Ryan Hanigan then lined a pitch to center field to put the tying run at third with just one out.
Street, however, was able to strike out both Chris Heisey and Brandon Phillips to send the Rockies to Florida with the win.
The win is encouraging for the Rockies. Two guys whose early season performances left the Rockies looking for something more stepped up and helped the team pick up a big win.
If the club wants to be in the postseason again they are going to need all of their players at full strength, not only physically, but mentally. It seems that both Cook and Iannetta are gaining their confidence on the field. If they are able to be consistent, the Rockies will be able to steal a few more games in the second half of the season.
The road trip does not get any easier, as the club faces both Josh Johnson in Florida and Roy Halladay in Philadelphia. If the Rockies are able to make this road trip a good one, it will go a long way for putting them into position to get to the playoffs.
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