The Coors Effect

June 7, 2010 12:02 AM

Ubaldo wins eleventh as Rockies avoid sweep

You know what the amazing thing about Ubaldo Jimenez's 2010 season is?

Twelve starts, twelve quality starts.

That's right.  Eleven times this season, Ubaldo Jimenez has been a winner.  And the most amazing part is that he's never had a bad start in that stretch, and just been helped out by a big offensive explosion.  There has been no time when Ubaldo has given up five runs, yet picked up a win because the Rockies scored 12 runs to back him up.  In fact, twelve quality starts is understating things.  A quality start only requires that you give up three earned runs or fewer.  Ubaldo hasn't given up more than two in a single start this season.

Now, Jim Tracy nearly lost this one.  Ubaldo had thrown seven shutout innings, but his pitch count was getting high.  He was getting hit a little harder than usual -- he had given up two extra-base hits in the first seven innings -- and he actually had to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning.  Nobody's perfect, but with a three-run lead, Tracy should have trusted his bullpen to bring it home.  Instead, Tracy sent Ubaldo back out for the eighth inning, and watched him give up a double, a homer, and a walk before pulling him.  Now, sending Ubaldo back out for the eighth inning isn't a terrible crime; Ubaldo has shown the ability to endure high pitch counts.  But after the double?  After the homer?  Tracy shouldn't have risked the game because he had that much faith in Ubaldo (or, alternatively, that little faith in the bullpen.)

But anyway, a win is a win, and there's no real reason to complain too much about it.  It's becoming clear after this weekend that the Rockies will go as far as Ubaldo can take them this season -- but Tracy really needs to start watching his pitch counts, particularly when the Rockies have a decent lead.  The bullpen is pretty good, and Tracy should reduce the strain on Ubaldo's arm and use them more often.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Ubaldo Jimenez
: As usual, a no-brainer.

2.  Troy Tulowitzki: 2-for-4 with a solo homer.  Tulo is really starting to heat up.

3.  Carlos Gonzalez: 2-for-4, 2 RBI.  Gonzalez's two-run single in the 5th gave the Rockies the lead for good, though they would need the insurance run Tulo provided later.

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