Colorado Rockies Must Make a Move Now

Anthony MastersonCorrespondent IMay 9, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 02:  Todd Helton #17 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the San Francisco Giants on May 2, 2009 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Here we are on May 9 and the Rockies have once again found themselves behind the 8-ball in the National League West race, doomed by a chronic case of projectile dysfunction. 

If these symptoms persist for longer than four more weeks, please consult your physician, as side effects may include irritability, violent mood swings, and an early onset of Broncos fever.

At 11-17, the Rox find themselves 8.5 games behind the first place—and now Manny-less—Dodgers

The team sits in the middle of the pack in team batting with a .256, and the squad is second in the league in home runs with 38, meaning the offense has not been the major issue with the ballclub.

Todd Helton is enjoying a renaissance, hitting .351 which is good for third in the National League.

In fact, the Rox are hitting .310 with runners in scoring position and two outs, an area in which they struggled mightily in 2008.  The onus, as it always has been in the Rockies' 16-year existence, is on the pitching, and the staff has not answered the call in 2009.

Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez have started to show signs of life, though they do not have much to show for it, throwing the ball with the kind of effectiveness that made them the two best pitchers on the team in 2008.

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It seems that when one facet of the Rockies attack—be it the offense, starting pitching, or bullpen—is working on any given day, one or both of the other areas of the team forgets to eat its Wheaties.

The bullpen has not shut down opposing hitters with any kind of consistency as evidenced in last night's 8-3 loss to the Marlins

Matt Belisle is the most solid example of the pen's frustrating incongruity.

Belisle at times can look unhittable—his two-inning stint May 2 against the Giants in which he struck out three without allowing a hit, for example. 

But when Belisle is bad, he is maddeningly hittable.  Last night against the Big Fish, Belisle faced three batters and did not retire a soul, allowing two runs and uncorking a wild pitch.

His ERA now stands at a gaudy 9.82.

Rockies pitchers have put themselves in a hole from the get-go here in '09.  Leadoff hitters are battering the Mile High pitching staff to the tune of a .358 batting average with 14 home runs.  Embarrassing numbers, any way you slice it.

Baserunners beget more baserunners, which beget runs early in the ballgame, which put the Rockies in a hole that is difficult to overcome.

If the Rockies somehow find themselves on top after five innings, they have generally done enough to put another notch in the win column, with a 9-2 record when leading after five.

On the contrary, the Rox record of 2-12 when trailing after five innings tells the real story so far in 2009.

It does not take long to take the Rockies out of a game and they have not shown a great amount of fight to stage a rally in the late innings.

There is still a lot of baseball left to play this season, but with Manny now out of the equation for the next 48 games, the Rockies must make their move now if they have any hope of playing meaningful games in August and September.

The clock is ticking on 2009, and unfortunately, the Rockies might be sleeping through the alarm.

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