The Coors Effect

April 25, 2010 11:00 AM

Rockies win nightcap behind Aaron Cook

Lately, it's seemed like something is wrong with Aaron Cook.  After winning sixteen games in 2008, Cook slipped a bit in 2009 -- his ERA rose to 4.16, and his walk rate rose: while his BB/9 was still just 2.68, that was worse than his career rate.  And to start this season, Cook had two bad starts in his first three.  The third start was just barely a quality start: six innings, three earned runs.

Last night, Rockies fans were treated to the Aaron Cook they've grown used to seeing -- and, frankly, the Aaron Cook that the Rockies need if they have any serious thoughts about making the playoffs.  The bullpen could have gotten taxed by yesterday's doubleheader, but after Manny Corpas saved the Rockies from having to use several relievers in the first game by giving three solid innings of work, Cook saved the Rockies from having to use any relievers by going the distance on 111 pitches.  Cook only gave up one run on five hits and two walks.  And, in classic Aaron Cook fashion, he induced nineteen grounders from the Marlins.

With Jason Hammel seemingly making his best effort to clear the way for Jhoulys Chacin, and Jeff Francis still on the disabled list (and a question mark when he returns), the Rockies really need this kind of effort from Cook a lot more often.  When he's on, Cook has the capability of giving the bullpen a night off, or virtually doing it (as when he goes eight innings.)  He has the ability to go deep into games, but lately it seems like more often than not he hasn't pitched well enough to do that.  Last night, against a good Marlins offense, he was, and the Rockies benefited from it.  That needs to happen a lot more often.  The Rockies' pitching is the big reason why the team is merely hovering around .500 rather than being above it at this early stage in the season; both the starters and the bullpen have struggled at times.

Oh, right, the offense.  While Cook shut down the Marlins, the Rockies offense was pounding out eight runs.  Miguel Olivo had the big hit of the night, a three-run homer off Marlins starter Nate Robertson in the third inning that gave the Rockies a 5-0 lead.  But other Rockies hitters had big games, too.  Dexter Fowler reached base all five times he came to the plate: three hits (one of them a double) and two walks, and he added a stolen base and two runs.  Troy Tulowitzki was 2-for-5 with a two-run double; Melvin Mora tripled in the first inning to score Jason Giambi.  Aaron Cook even went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored twice.

Yeah, that was an excellent game by the Rockies, the kind of effort I'd like to see a lot more of.  Let's hope Jorge can follow up Cook's good start with one of his own today.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Aaron Cook
: Did I not explain this already?

2.  Dexter Fowler: You want your top-of-the-order guys to get on base, and Dex did that.  Five times.

3.  Miguel Olivo: Olivo's three-run homer in the third put the Rockies up 5-0, effectively sealing the win with the way that Cook was pitching.

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