Unlike the usual April slow start, the Rockies are winning right out of the gate. The old adage says, pennants can't be won in April, but they can be lost. Last year, after starting the season 11-12, the Rockies spent most of the season playing catchup. And that was a big reason why the Rockies finished the season in third place in the West.
Another reason? The Rockies didn't take care of the bad teams on the schedule. Yes, you can argue that the Rockies are 6-2 largely because they've played two games against the Diamondbacks and four against the Pirates. But a big part of being a contender is winning the games you're supposed to win. See, last season, while the Diamondbacks were going 65-97, they went 9-9 against the Rockies. And the Rockies went 3-4 against a Pirates team that won 57 games. So it's good to see the Rockies winning the games they should. And winning games on the road! Those four games against the Pirates were in Pittsburgh.
Well, for the weekend series, the Rockies only hit .238 as a team. No, the big reason why the Rockies have started so well is the pitching. The pitchers are doing what they're supposed to do away from Coors Field; while the Rockies were hitting .238 in the Pirates series, the Pirates were hitting -- get this -- .191. So far in this young season, Rockies pitchers have a 2.86 ERA, second best in the NL (behind San Diego.) And that's with virtually no contribution from Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave up six runs in his only start. Think about how good this pitching staff will be when Ubaldo is back to health.
Okay. While there's not a lot to report about with the pitching staff -- basically everybody's pitching well, even if Huston Street makes you want to reach for the antacid every time he gets the ball -- there's, uh, the offense? With the team currently hitting .249, there's certainly room for improvement (though, I kind of doubt the pitching staff is going to keep up a 2.86 ERA all season.) Troy Tulowitzki isn't going to bat .214 all season, and Carlos Gonzalez is eventually going to hit a homer. Those two things we know.
But there's also Ian Stewart, currently 0-for-12 on the season. And not playing a whole lot. Some of it all has to do with injuries, but Jose Lopez presents an acceptable option to play the hot corner.
And then there's Jonathan Herrera. Really... seven walks in 18 plate appearances? I mean, last season Herrera had eighteen extra-base hits in 517 plate appearances -- and that's counting what he did in Colorado Springs! I like that Herrera can work a walk, but really, what are pitchers thinking working him out of the strike zone so much? He's probably not going to get himself out (he has no strikeouts this season, by the way.) On the other hand, he may have just earned himself the second-base job.