Colorado Rockies Need To Find Identity

Bob LockeContributor IMay 3, 2009

DENVER - APRIL 29:  The Colorado Rockies celebrate after they defeated the San Diego Padres 7-5 during MLB action at Coors Field on April 29, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Colorado Rockies have played 22 games and the numbers are befuddling, to say the least.

Some of the stats are very encouraging:

The Rockies are on pace to hit 221 HR as team even though no individual has more than four. That's the balance that many of us were expecting and predicting coming out of spring training.

They have outscored their competition 115-112. According to Pythagorean projection, they should be 11-11, not 9-13. This actually bodes well for the team over the long-haul, because baseball tends to even things out unlike any other sport.

After running wild against San Diego's Chris Young the other night, the Rockies lead the NL in stolen bases with 21. Rookie sensation Dexter Fowler is 9-for-10, having gone 5-for-5 off Young.

The team is third in the NL in SLG and fourth in OPS, and middle of the pack in BA (7th) and OBP (sixth).

Helton and Hawpe are both on pace to eclipse 100 RBI. Spilborghs is on pace for 95.

Hawpe currently sits above the .300/.400/.600 line, which is exceptional.

Spilborghs and Smith are almost above the .300/.400/.500 line (Spilly's at .378 OBP, Smith at .286 BA).

Jason Marquis and Jorge De La Rosa have a combined ERA of 3.41 (22 ER in 58 IP).

Jason Grilli is looking like 2009's version of 2008's Taylor Buchholz. Grilli has a sparkling 1.08 ERA in 8.1 IP in relief, with 11 K's.

Some of the stats are alarming:

The Rockies are 0-6 in contests decided by a single run. Good teams find ways to win close games. Someone gets a key hit or makes a pitch when it matters to put the team over the top. Haven't seen that so far with this squad.

Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez have a combined ERA of 6.84 (20 ER in 51.1 IP).

Huston Street and Manny Corpas have a combined ERA of 6.10 (each of them has allowed seven ER in 10.1 IP). Street has allowed three HR already this year. However, they are 3-for-4 in save opportunities between them (Corpas with the one blown save).

Alan Embree is 0-1 with an ERA of 6.00 and two blown saves, largely due to 3 BBs and only 1 K in his 6 IP.

De la Rosa is 0-2 despite his 3.57 ERA (only getting 2.50 runs per game in support).

As an entire pitching staff, the Rockies have 132 Ks (15th in NL) and 83 BBs (fourth in NL). This is a theme that we've seen repeatedly over the years—not throwing nearly enough quality strikes.

Rockies' hitters have 172 K's to only 88 BB's. Smith is the only Rockie with more walks than strikeouts (Hawpe has the same number of each).

Chris Iannetta, counted on as a run-producer out of the No. 6 spot, is hitting .184 so far. He leads the team with 4 HR and has gone 6-for-18 in his last five games, but only has 6 RBI to show for those 4 HR.

Garrett Atkins has an OPS+ of 78 - the lowest among Rockies' regulars. His line is .250/.297/.417, which is totally unacceptable from an everyday corner infielder. This is a continuation of his downward trend over the last three seasons.

Ian Stewart, after a very fast start, has cooled off considerably. His last HR was on April 20th. His BA has fallen from .375 to .235 and his SLG has dropped from .690 to .471 since then.

Troy Tulowitzki also got off to a fast start. After the first five games his line was .333/.500/.1.067 with 3 HR and 5 RBI. It now sits at .221/.329/.426, and he hasn't homered or driven in a run since that fifth game.

Add it all up, and you get to 9-13 through 22 games.

Inconsistency continues to be the watchword for this team. At least one facet (starting pitching, hitting, bullpen) has failed to show up in a glaring manner in almost every single game this year.

Clint Hurdle needs to nail down the bullpen roles and get a little more settled with the everyday lineup. Consistency leads to consistency.

GM Dan O'Dowd could probably look at making a move, too, because there are more everyday position players than there are spots for Hurdle to play them.

Right now this is a team with few well-defined roles and only a handful of guys who are showing up on a regular basis. That has to change, and soon, or else they are going to fall into a hole too deep to dig out of.


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