The Coors Effect

April 27, 2010 12:27 AM

Another shaky outing for Hammel as Rockies lose

Considering the start he's had to the season, Jason Hammel may be on a short leash these days.  Hammel surrendered five runs on six hits and a walk as the Rockies lost the series opener to the Diamondbacks, 5-3.  Jim Tracy had a quick hook with Hammel tonight, lifting him for Manny Corpas after just three innings and 65 pitches.  The bullpen managed to keep the Diamondbacks in check for the final six innings, limiting them to no runs and one hit, but unfortunately the four-run lead the Snakes had after two innings was enough to hold up despite late efforts by the Rockies.

The Rockies' lineup, aside from Carlos Gonzalez (who went 2-for-3, homered, and drove in two runs) and Ian Stewart (2-for-4 with an RBI double), was mostly quiet.  It was enough for the team to mount a late threat, but on a night when Diamondbacks starter Dan Haren had his best stuff (ten strikeouts), the Rockies were doomed.

Back to Hammel -- Jim Tracy needs to reevaluate his rotation.  Hammel is coming off a pretty good season, but that's now two out of four outings in which he's been lit up, and he wasn't exactly superb in the other two starts.  Yes, he's been getting more than a bit unlucky, but it's pretty clear that when a pitcher has an ERA over 9 after four starts, something is wrong.  With the way that Hammel is pitching right now, it's not at all unrealistic to think that the Rockies might be better served running Jhoulys Chacin or Esmil Rogers out there every fifth day.  Yes, Chacin or Rogers would experience his share of struggles in the major leagues, but those struggles would be mollified by the fact that, particularly in Chacin's case, there's a really good chance that by the end of the season he could be a pretty good starter.  Meanwhile, I doubt Hammel will get much better than he was in 2009.

In related news, now that Eric Young Jr. is with the team -- and had a double tonight in a pinch-hit appearance -- Clint Barmes can't afford to have too many more 0-for-3, 2-strikeout performances.  There's a real chance that Young could be the Rockies' starting second baseman some time in May.  The Rockies have displayed a lot of patience with Barmes, but right now he's contributing zilch on offense.  There's no harm in giving Young a shot to see if he can do better -- after all, that's pretty much the approach the Rockies are taking with Miguel Olivo since Chris Iannetta has struggled out of the gate.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Carlos Gonzalez
: He even drew his first walk of the season!

2.  Ian Stewart: His average is now up to .313 on the season.  See, I knew he wasn't really a .228 hitter.

3.  Manny Corpas: That's now two games in the past three days in which Corpas has spared the Rockies from having to use a whole bunch of relievers after a short outing by the starter.  Corpas again pitched three scoreless, then handed the ball off to Joe Beimel and Randy Flores (who needed the work anyhow.)

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