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The Coors Effect


July 9, 2009 5:56 AM

Rockies sweep Nats; one back in wild card race

With Franklin Morales now back with the Rockies, Jorge de la Rosa continues to pitch just well enough to keep his job.

Today, Jorge went 6.1 and gave up three runs: good, but not great, work.  He was very solid up through the seventh inning, when he gave up all three runs.

Morales could stabilize the bullpen, but, with the Rockies now having a 39.2 percent chance of making the playoffs (per coolstandings.com), the Rockies need to run their best team out there.  The important question is whether the Rockies are better off with Morales in the bullpen in the rotation; and, conversely, whether they're better off with Morales or de la Rosa in the rotation.

Both pitchers have excellent raw stuff.  Morales is young, inexperienced, and erratic; but, when comparing him to de la Rosa, the fact that he's erratic is... well, not exactly a point in Jorge's favor.

But Jorge's resurgence is roughly timed with the Rockies' resurgence: through the end of May, the Rockies were 2-8 with Jorge starting; Jorge himself was 0-6 with a 5.43 ERA.  Since, the Rockies and Jorge are 6-1, although he has a 4.61 ERA.  Bad Jorge has been seen much less frequently in that span.

For now, I think that Jorge remains in the rotation, but it seems to be only a matter of time before Morales is in the rotation.  Consider that, aside from the season-ending injury to Jeff Francis (and the injuries to Morales himself), the Rockies have been very lucky with pitchers getting hurt.  Of the current five members of the starting rotation, none have so much as missed a start.  Only six pitchers have started a game for the Rockies this year.  That's probably not going to last all year: remember that in 2007, the Rockies made it through much of the first half with similar luck, but pitchers started getting hurt left and right in the second half.  It turned out not to matter so much since the Rockies had a couple of quality starters in Morales and Ubaldo Jimenez to pick up the slack.  Now, Morales is still waiting for his chance; but who else is there if a starter goes down?  Brandon Hynick has been solid at Colorado Springs, but his low strikeout rate isn't promising.  Jhoulys Chacin has potential, but he hasn't pitched above AA yet.

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