Colorado Rockies Back to Their Old Ways

Anthony MastersonCorrespondent IApril 19, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 15: Seth Smith (L) and Ryan Spilborghs of the Colorado Rockies, wearing #42 jerseys on Jackie Robinson Day, avoid colliding as Spilborghs catches a fly ball against the Chicago Cubs April 15, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Rockies defeated the Cubs 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Though the Rox faithful weren't brimming with optimism heading into opening day, there was talk that the pieces were in place for the Rockies to make a run in the wide-open National League West.

There were a lot of unquantifiable "ifs" involved however. 

IF Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, and Jorge De la Rosa grow up and start pitching up to their potential.

IF Todd Helton's balky back holds up.

IF the new acquisitions in the bullpen would become the shutdown bunch they were supposed to be.

But as we now sit two weeks into the season, a lot of those ifs haven't rang true for the Rockies as their record now sits at 4-7. 

A strong start out of the gate was looked at as the key for a team trying desperately to get over the hump. After their magical 2007 run to the World Series and a severely disappointing 2008, the Rockies were looking to rebound, and a solid April would set the tone for the 2009 team.

The Rockies have never been known to excel early in the year. Here's a look at all their April records since 2002:

2002:  10-16

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2003:  15-12

2004:  9-12

2005:  6-15

2006:  15-10

2007:  10-16

2008:  11-17

With two winning Aprils in the last seven seasons, the Rockies have been prone to digging themselves into holes that they are unable to climb out of by the time the season hits the halfway point.

Now, in 2009, the Rockies have begun to revert to their sluggish ways before the calendar turns to May. 

Their offense has sputtered, their starting pitching has been shaky at best, and their bullpen has been inconsistent when given a late lead.

Though three of their four wins have come against top-notch hurlers Dan Haren, Cole Hamels, and Rich Harden, the Rox have struggled to find any kind of consistency in both their approach at the plate and their poise on the mound.

Veteran Jason Marquis has been their best pitcher, outdueling both Hamels and Harden in consecutive starts to become a stabilizing presence in an otherwise floundering rotation.

Jimenez has yet to reel in his triple-digit heat, Cook's sinker isn't fooling hitters the way it has in the past, and De la Rosa still has a FOR RENT sign between his ears.

Franklin Morales, who had a sterling debut in Arizona in the season's third game, will make his second start on Tuesday in hopes that he can re-establish his status as one of the organization's top prospects. 

Morales threw a Minor League game last week, tossing six shutout innings, but walking five in the process, so who knows what to expect from the 23-year-old lefty.

The Rox have faced a gauntlet of a schedule in the season's opening month with plenty of games against playoff teams and in places like Chicago and Los Angeles where the Rox have found little success in their 16-year history.

If they survive the season's opening month with their record hovering around the .500 mark, I believe they can survive at least long enough to make games in August and September a little more interesting for the Blake Street faithful.

If they fall back to their usual April ways, however, it could be the same old story once more in the Mile High City.