The three players the Rockies received from Oakland in the Matt Holliday deal are all moving forward, apparently, some quicker than others. Carlos Gonzalez' injury pushes him to Colorado Springs to start the season, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get up to the team and what he will do when he does. Huston Street, meanwhile, seems a little more likely to be the set-up man to Manny Corpas right now than the other way around and Greg Smith may yet pass Franklin Morales for the fifth starter slot since it is so far out. Both will pitch and show off their wares against Holliday and the A's today.
By the time the Rockies require that fifth starter on April 21, the front four of Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Marquis will have pitched three times each as long as everything goes according to plan and nobody gets injured. This is the way the fourteen matchups of our first five series look to unfold right now:
- Aaron Cook vs. Brandon Webb
- Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Dan Haren
- Jason Marquis vs. Doug Davis
- Jorge De La Rosa vs. Cole Hamels (this is when Hamels is projected to return from injury)
- Cook vs. J.A. Happ or Chan Ho Park
- Jimenez vs. Brett Myers
- Marquis vs. Ryan Dempster or Harden (the Cubs don't have to use five starters yet, either)
- JDLR vs. Harden or Ted Lilly
- Cook vs. Hideki Kuroda
- Jimenez vs. Randy Wolf
- Marquis vs. Chad Billingsley
- JDLR vs. Jon Garland
- Franklin Morales vs Max Scherzer
- Cook vs. Webb
Okay, so it looks like the first time through, the best opportunities for the Rockies are with Jimenez and Marquis against the 2/3 of the Diamondbacks, but these are toss-ups on paper at best. The second time through the rotation, the Rockies look a bit better, especially if the Cubs do decide to use a full five man rotation from the start of the season, leaving JDLR vs Lilly on tax day. I like the matchups for the third time through as well, except for that projected Chad Billingsley start against Marquis on April 19. Still, I can point to only four of fourteen matchups that I've got a high degree of confidence heading into.
It's a rough schedule right off the bat that will test the team against the three defending NL division winners and the league's best rotation in Arizona (twice) in the first five series. If the Rockies have any mettle this year, we could find out pretty quickly.
Thomas Harding takes the glass half full look and notices our starting lineup is looking mighty fine this Spring now that they're all getting back together.