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The Rockies' Pitching Woes: Why the Staff is to Blame

KyleCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19:  Ubaldo Jimenez #38 of the Colorado Rockies reacts as he leaves the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

What's wrong with the Colorado Rockies?  They started out the season 4-4, but are currently 5-9. They lost five of their last six, and eight of their last 10 games. 

So what's the problem? 

It's not necessarily hitting—the Rockies are ranked seventh in the NL in runs scored.

Fielding? Not exactly. The Rockies have committed just eight errors on the year, seventh in the NL.

One area you can point to is pitching. The Rockies' 5.84 ERA is ranked 14th in the NL, and the Rockies' opponent's batting average is .307, last in the NL.

A .307 opponent batting average is terrible. That means in every inning, one batter can usually get on base via hit. 

However, the Rockies' aren't giving away free bases, which is one positive to make out of this situation. The Rockies have given up just 48 walks on the year, compared to 77 strikeouts.

In the Rockies' three-game series against the Dodgers, the Rockies gave up 27 runs. Unsurprisingly, they were swept.

Perhaps the pitcher who's struggling the most is Aaron Cook. Cook, who is supposed to be one of the Rockies' main pitching anchors, has a 10.22 ERA, and has just pitched 12.1 innings in three starts. He has given up 22 hits, and has a WHIP over two. Cook is 0-1.

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Marquis, who looks to be one of the most consistent Rockies' starters, is 2-1 with an ERA of 4.26 in 19 innings pitched. Even though he was pulled after five innings in his start versus the Cubs, Marquis has been nothing but impressive for the Rockies. He was acquired from the Cubs in the offseason.

Another bright spot for the Rockies this year is reliever Jason Grilli. Grilli leads the team in ERA, with 1.35. He also leads in appearances, with eight. Grilli has eight strikeouts, and has given up just a single earned run. Grilli also a notched a save in his only save opportunity. 

The Rockies' closer position has been a mystery as well. Former Oakland Athletics' closer Huston Street has lost the position, after a 13.50 ERA though four appearances.  He has gotten better, though.  His ERA is now at 7.94, and didn't give up an earned run against the Diamondbacks today.

The Rockies' other closer is Manny Corpas, who has a 5.68 ERA through April 21, and has just three strikeouts through seven games. Corpas and Street are still battling for the closer position.

If the Rockies can just get together some decent pitching, I see no reason why this team can't at least compete for the NL West. Their hitting and speed is above average, but it's the pitching can't keep the Rockies in the game.