The Coors Effect

June 8, 2010 12:05 AM

Hammel, Barmes play like their jobs are on the line

In recent weeks, it's looked like Jim Tracy took Jason Hammel aside after he gave up five runs against the Royals (the freakin' Royals!) on May 21 and said, "Hey, Jason, more starts like that and you're going to the bullpen when Jorge returns!"

Now, getting sent to the bullpen isn't the huge banishment to baseball purgatory that it once was, but Hammel's clearly gotten the message.  Tonight, Hammel threw 7.1 innings of shutout ball in a 5-1 win over the Astros.  And I know you're thinking, "yeah, but it's the Astros!"  But did you not read what I wrote a paragraph up?  This is a guy who gave up five runs in a start against the freakin' Royals, so we can rest easy that at least he's not getting lit up by bad offensive teams any more.

The same goes for Clint Barmes.  Barmes is having -- there's no way to put this nicely -- a terrible season, and he still has his starting job only because Eric Young is hurt, Jonathan Herrera can't really hit, Melvin Mora can't play defense, and Kaz Matsui can't really hit or play defense any more.  (Though, to be fair, Mora is actually a decent fielder at third base, as he showed tonight.  It's when he's at second that his defense is a liability.)  I'm guessing that Jim Tracy stuck a Post-It note on Barmes's locker tonight that read something like, "Chris Nelson's last ten games at AAA: .400/.444/.650" and Barmes got the message.  Barmes delivered a two-run double in the second inning, giving the Rockies a lead they wouldn't relinquish, and for good measure he added a single in the fourth inning.  Okay, so he still didn't draw a walk, but progress is progress.

While it's entirely possible that these performances by Hammel and Barmes were a one-night blip in an otherwise subpar season for them (Hammel's ERA is still over 5, Barmes's batting average is still just .219), there's hope when you see them come out and actually make positive contributions to the team.  Neither is facing a real, immediate threat: Jorge and EY aren't expected back immediately, and Chris Nelson is still playing shortstop; we assume the Rockies won't try to have him learn second base in the big leagues.  But it's good to see them stepping up their performances.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Jason Hammel

2.  Clint Barmes

3.  Miguel Olivo: 2-for-3 with an RBI triple.  Yeah, seriously, our catcher has four triples this year.

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