The Colorado Rockies have gotten off to a slow start to the 2009 season, as their record sits at 8-12 through the first month of the season. They have gotten some surprising efforts from some of their players, but they haven’t had consistent starting pitching all season long. As we turn to May on the calendar, the Rockies need to find out who their closer will be, as well as many other question marks.
One question that has been answered is whether or not Dexter Fowler would be ready to play everyday in the Major Leagues. All the rookie has done is bat .290 through his first 18 games, and he already has nine stolen bases. Of course, that statistic includes his five stolen base day against San Diego, which tied a modern-day, major-league rookie record.
“I got the green light and I thought I had some good jumps," said Fowler.
The Rockies have also gotten some great hitting from a key number of players, including the ever-clutch Todd Helton. The aging Helton is once again batting over .300, and he is one of four Colorado regulars who have that distinction. Also stroking early on are Ryan Spilborghs, Brad Hawpe, and Seth Smith, all of whom have contributed in a major way in 2009.
Two big disappointments in the early going have been shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and catcher Chris Iannetta, who both are expected to be key contributors to the team in 2009, and beyond. Tulowitzki, who many believe to be one of the top young shortstops in the game, is batting only .200, mostly due to him striking out at a high rate. Iannetta, who many predicted to have a breakout season, is batting well below the Mendoza Line, and the Rockies are beginning to worry.
In regards to pitching, two of the Rockies starters have struggled mightily in the early going, with one being the staff ace. Aaron Cook has a bloated 7.11 earned run average through his first five starts, and has been terrorized by the long ball all season long. Ubaldo Jimenez’s earned run average is even higher, as the young fire-baller’s ERA is 7.58 in the early going. They both need to get on track if the Rockies want to challenge in the National League West in 2009.
Jason Marquis has been very sharp in the early going, as he has won three of his first four starts. Though he was not asked to be the staff ace out of camp, he has assumed that role in the early going. Jorge De La Rosa has also been great in the rotation, leading all starters with a 3.57 earned run average. He has dodged the long ball as well, as he has allowed only one bomb on the young season.
Huston Street may have locked up the team’s closer role, at least for the time being, as he struck out the side on Wednesday. After losing the role early in the year, Street has been getting back into a rhythm, while Manny Corpas, his replacement, has been touched early and often. Street was once considered one of the top closers in baseball, and the Rockies hope he can return to that form.
Jeff Baker, the team’s utility man, has been sent to the 15-day DL, due to a sprained left hand. Matt Murton, who was batting over .400 for Colorado Springs, will take his spot on the active roster.