No I'm not talking about the one that Rockies fans are getting concerning Huston Street, or the one that D-backs and Giants fans should be feeling right about now with regard to their 2009 season, but insteand the one that the baseball itself feels when leaving the hand of Aaron Cook, Jason Marquis, or Ubaldo Jimenez. Add Jhoulys Chacin to that mix later this year and the Rockies have a nifty bunch of worm killers. Dave Cameron, writing for the Wall Street Journal, takes a look at Jimenez and other young pitchers in an article praising the virtues of the groundball.
Let's go back to that Street thing right now, as to me there definitely appears to be something going awry there. If we're talking about GB rates, we can start by pointing out that he has the lowest among Rockies pitchers currently with the team(Franklin Morales' somewhat flukish start in Arizona has him lower overall). A closer examination shows that unlike a couple of the other Rockies pitchers with currently low GB rates, such as Jorge De La Rosa or Morales, the flyballs that Street is allowing are immensely damaging, with zero pop outs to the infield and over a quarter of his flies have been leaving the ballpark. Opponents are swinging at a higher percentage of his pitches than any other Rockies pitcher, and rather than a sign of great command, I think it's a sign that his pitches are looking fat and flat. There's seemingly no or very little deception going on, and that's troubling.
Tracy Ringolsby looks at the switch Hurdle made from Street to Grilli yesterday as a sign that he's learned from mistakes of past seasons. Hurdle does seem to be managing as though he has a lot on the line this season, all his years of losing will have hopefully taught him something about how to avoid it.
All of the media seems to be on board with Franklin Morales getting the start next Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, although no official word has come down from Rockies coaches or the front office. Perhaps the only drawback would be that the D-backs should have lots of tape to look at to prepare for him, since yesterday's start was against their AAA affiliate in Reno, and his one MLB start this season was at Chase Field.
I think Saturday might be the most important game of April for the Rockies, as they will be facing Chad Billingsley for the first time. While TrueBlueLA's Brendan Scolari points out that Billingsley doesn't seem to be suffering from any sort of Verducci effect thus far, the fatigue devil still lurks and it's imperative that the Rockies push him like they pushed Rich Harden yesterday. More 14 pitch AB's, more walks, more shaking off and getting back in to do it again after a called third strike, all of that will only help the Rockies now and in September. Dodgers pitchers did get flustered by the only other patient team they've faced this season in San Diego, this series will be an excellent opportunity for the Rockies to make a similar statement.