When Jhoulys Chacin exited the game with a back injury after dominating the Arizona Diamondbacks for 6 ⅓ innings on April 19, the Colorado Rockies were faced with a worrisome situation with their 25-year-old opening day starter who had been pitching like an ace for the first month of the season.
While Chacin's injury turned out to be minor, he hasn't been the same guy since returning on May 5 -- particularly at Coors Field, where he has allowed 26 earned runs in 30 innings across five starts, good for a 7.80 ERA. Chacin was decent in two road starts, surrendering four earned runs in 12 innings in St. Louis and Houston. But, something seems to have gone awry with the Rockies' promising young hurler.
One thing jumps out immediately: through his first two starts at Coors Field, Chacin induced 28 ground balls and just 11 fly balls, good for a GB/FB ratio of 2.55. Since then, he has allowed more fly balls (56) than grounders (52) in home starts. While that has only resulted in two home runs, fly balls at Coors Field create other problems with the expansive outfield, especially when somebody like Eric Young Jr. is forced into center field over Dexter Fowler due to illness, but that's a whole different issue.
The whole ground balls vs. flyballs thing can be overrated at times, but Chacin needs to induce those grounders to mitigate his declining strikeout rates. Since punching out a batter per inning (9.0 K/9) in 2010, Chacin's K numbers have gone down to 7.0, 5.9 and 5.8 K/9.
At his age, some of Chacin's issues with consistency can definitely still be hammered out, and he's already doing a much better job at limiting walks than he has in past seasons. However, he needs to master the art of pitching at Coors Field -- where his career ERA is almost a run and a half higher than on the road -- to give himself a better chance to succeed.
Chris Perez is facing misdemeanor charges for having marijuana delivered to his house. Perez being into weed is, well, unsurprising to say the least.
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