When looking at the turnaround the Rockies have undergone this season from last, it mostly comes down to the pitching and defense side of the equation as we've dropped our runs allowed by almost four tenths a run per game. It doesn't sound like much, but over the course of a long season, it adds up.
So much of this has to do with no longer having Byung Hyun Kim and the 2006 version of Josh Fogg in regular rotation slots. Fogg still isn't a superstar, but he hasn't been a depression this season and Kim's slot in 2006 has been filled by a ragtag group of rookies and journeymen who's net contribution has been a positive. Still, even with that improvement, I wasn't expecting anybody to step in and fill the shoes Jason Jennings left with his flukishly good 2006. I was right, that didn't happen, but Jeff Francis has seemingly emerged as a staff leader this year, and his quiet consistency is once again paying big dividends.
Francis has put in a year just like 2006, it seems, the only big difference is that with better efficiency, there's more of him. With four starts left, he should easily cross the 200 inning barrier for the first time in his career, and with 191 and a third innings pitched to date, he's got an outside shot of crossing it tonight with a complete game. I'm just hoping for a win, of course, but now that I bring it up, it sure would be nice to rest the bullpen...