Way back in the halcyon days of 2010, Jhoulys Chacin threw 137 1/3 innings of 3.28 ERA ball while striking out a batter per inning as a 22 year old. While he took a slight step back last year (particularly in the 2nd half) in terms of rate stats, Chacin threw 194 innings with similar effectiveness. That 3+ WAR pitcher was expected to anchor Colorado's rotation this year in his age 24 season. Last night, we finally got to see that guy pitch as he earned his first win in almost a calendar year.
Very high on the list of reasons why this season has been so bad was the fact that Chacin was pitching hurt (and terribly) to start the season when he was expected to be the ace. Heck, it looks the pitcher with the most innings for Colorado this year will struggle to throw half as many innings as Chacin did last year. Now that it appears that he's recovered from his ailments, the rest of Jhoulys' 2012 season will merely serve as a reminder to Rockies fans that they have at least one decent pitcher on the roster -- a pitcher that should anchor a better group in 2013.
We've seen what can happen with this team when the pitching gives it a chance to win. When the pitching staff allows less than 4 runs (as they have done 7 times in August so far), the Rockies are 27-8 this year. Unfortunately, the two most common runs allowed outcomes this year for Colorado have been 6 and 7, both of which have happened 17 times. Even more depressing, the Rockies have allowed 6 or more runs in 65 of their 120 games (they are 12-53 in those contests).
The hope is that with a healthy Chacin in the rotation for the long term, that number will decrease considerably next year. If the offense continues scoring at a similar pace, that might be enough to get this team back near .500.
As was rumored yesterday, to make room for Chacin on the 25 man roster, Colorado put Eric Young on the DL with a rib cage injury. If this is the end of his season (he says it isn't), Young has certainly given the Rockies a lot to think about with his recent offensive tear.
Patrick Saunders' mailbag contains plenty of optimism plus a discussion on the effectiveness of the piggyback pitching model. There's also a reader who has finally caught up to the Internet, circa 2006.
Steve Treder at the Hardball Times has a nice graphic showing the progress of the NL West as the season has gone on.
Here's a sad but excellent story by ESPN.com's Wright Thompson about the relationship between the brothers Halman, one of which murdered the other, a player for Seattle and native of the Netherlands, during the off-season.
Finally, here's evidence that spending big money on relievers is...inefficient.