Monday Rockpile: Like Joanie Loved Chachi, Ubaldo Loves Jose

I just know that this is going to spark endless amounts of debate with no real results, but here are the facts:

With Chris Iannetta catching, Ubaldo Jimenez is 0-4 with a 5.36 ERA.

With Jose Morales catching, Ubaldo Jimenez is 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA.

Tracy likes ‘real connection’ between Jimenez, Morales | All Things Rockies — Colorado Rockies news — Denver Post
Jim Tracy feels that Ubaldo has been handled well by Jose Morales. He also says that this Morales/Jimenez connection won't rule Iannetta out of the conversation for catching Ubaldo.

I really have no problem with Ubaldo liking Morales more than Iannetta, or whatever. Tracy says it isn't even a "personal catcher" issue. He just likes the combination.

Rox catcher Morales clicking with Ubaldo | ColoradoRockies.com: News

Thomas Harding correctly points out that Morales has gotten to catch Ubaldo when he's been more to form, rather than the early season troubles like injury were major players in Jimenez' struggles. Well, he doesn't specifically point to it, but he suggests that it's kind of a tossup between Ubaldo finding form and being better with Morales.

There is one pitcher/catcher combo that I ever felt was completely legitimate, and that was Boston's Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli. You gotta be able to catch that knuckler. Past that, we're talking about a plethora of mind games, psychosomatic kinds of things where if it's working, it's working, and if it's not, it's not.

Here's the thing though: we're not just discussing Ubaldo wearing a good luck charm or anything of that nature. We're talking about one player in the lineup over another. If Ubaldo is pitching to form, it won't really matter much if Iannetta's superior batting line is in the lineup over Morales' questionable numbers (although his 2 hit day on Sunday certainly helped his case). But with the offensive woes we've seen over the past 6 weeks (which, given recent play, may be coming to an end), I want to make sure the Rockies have a chance to win every day they take the field - and that means starting Iannetta's .830 OPS over Morales' .647.

If there is some real connection between Ubaldo and Morales, and it can legitimately get him to hit his targets and pitch at a rate that allows 2 fewer runs per 9, yes, keep the two together. But as we know, not all runs are as unearned as others, and if we compare the RA (Runs Against Average - same thing as ERA, but just looking at straight up runs, never mind the defense), Ubaldo is sitting at a 5.10 RA with Morales vs a 5.79 RA with Iannetta. Maybe I'm just biased (yes) but you could make the case that he's really pitching just as well with either. (Just for giggles, Ubaldo has roughly a 3.89 FIP with Iannetta and a 4.23 FIP with Morales. Small Samples Abound.)

Off Topic

Ubaldo’s Coors Field nightmare continues | All Things Rockies — Colorado Rockies news — Denver Post

Jim Armstrong pulls a staggering amount of numbers about the Rockies and Coors Field this season, so I'd advise you click in and check out his work, but the point of this is that Ubaldo Jimenez is having a rough time at Coors Field this year.

 

Chacin a steadying force in Rockies' rotation | ColoradoRockies.com: News
You may have noticed this - and stop me if you have - but Jhoulys Chacin is pretty good. His 2.90 ERA is 16th best in the majors. He's probably due to regress a bit (3.27 xFIP, .226 BABIP), but he's quietly been one of the best parts of the 2011 season thus far.

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