The Baseball Notebook

May 6, 2010 2:00 PM

Colorado's Pitching

Colorado has made the playoffs two of the last three years, including the World Series in 2007, and there's never been any question about the Rockies' ability to score runs. The key to success in Coors Field has been finding the pitching that could sustain them through the long, hot summer. Every time I looked at this team in previous years, I was convinced they didn't have the arms, and they kept proving me wrong. Let's take a look at the '10 staff and see if it's playoff-worthy.

Ubaldo Jiminez has been the best starter in baseball to date, not only throwing a no-hitter against Atlanta, but putting up a dazzling 0.87 ERA. His 1.02 WHIP is even more amazing, a stat so low it's usually attainable only by the top closers who only have to get through one inning. It won't sustain itself, but a month's worth is still incredible performance.

The problem lies below the ace. Aaron Cook and Greg Smith have gotten five starts apiece and have ERAs of 5.52 and 7.33 respectively. While Smith's ERA can't help but come down, there's nothing that makes substantial improvement from either guy a safe bet. Jorge de la Rosa and Jason Hammell are on the disabled list. New starter Jhoulys Chacin has yet to give up a run in two appearances encompassing eight innings, but what are the odds that anything remotely like that sustains? Esmil Rogers is other arm in the rotation, an uninspiring option.

On the positive side, the setup corps is very good. Manny Corpas, Matt Belisle and Matt Daley give manager Clint Hurdle a number of reliable options. Franklin Morales has been doable, if not dominant, as the closer while Huston Street gets healthy. If Street comes back healthy and effective, the return of Morales to setup, makes an excellent unit stronger. If the starters can just survive five innings, Hurdle can mix and match, and then count on Jiminez to be the stopper who gives his pen some rest.

Prognosis: I never like to suggest a team deal prospects to obtain a starting pitcher in midseason, as they often pay inflated value for mediocre talent. But if the Rockies were tempted to go that route, I couldn't blame them.

See you tomorrow for a look-in at some of the teams in everyone's rearview mirror.

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