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Wednesday Rockpile: Better Late than Never

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The past 2 nights have seen the Colorado Rockies do something we've very very rarely seen in the year of our Lord 2010: get hits and score runs past the 7th inning. The past 2 nights, the Rockies have given their closer Huston Street a nice red carpet to work his way back into the 9th inning. In fact, they've not only supported their closer but also their starting pitchers. I can't think of a starter who would honestly complain about 8 runs of support, or heck, even 4 runs of support. Seeing how the Quality Start is defined as 6+IP, 3ER>, any pitcher who DOES complain about 4 runs of support can GTFO for all I'm concerned.

Hammel continued his reign of undisclosed dominance by posting another 6 innings of shutout ball before allowed a home run and 2 singles before being yanked for the bullpen, who did him absolutely no favors. But then again, before we get all Haterade on the bullpen, it's not like Hammel did THEM any favors, either, by leaving them a nice steaming pair of baserunners with nobody gone. Hits happen, even from the Padres, and they'll be scrappier than ever if the Pads are at the plate, so it's one of those butt-clenching things because you just KNOW it'll be like that fly ball that bounced JUST on the foul line that Ryan Spilborghs just missed.

Anyhow, Padres aside, we should be very cognizant of Jason Hammel's pitching outings as well - maybe. Outings like last night kind of throw a wrench into how we evaluate Hammel's pitching. We want to say "SEE YOU CAN'T LEAVE HIM IN THERE TOO LONG HE IS TOO HITTABLE BAD INNING WARGLBARGL" but the fact of the matter is that once Hammel gets up over 75 pitches, he's LESS hittable than the prior 50.

Check these splits:

Split

SO/BB

OPS

Pitch 1-25

1.83

0.633

Pitch 26-50

3.5

0.783

Pitch 51-75

2.14

0.882

Pitch 76-100

7.5

0.547

Pitch 101+

1

1.181

Split

ERA

SO/BB

OPS

1st inning

2.25

1.5

0.716

2nd inning

6.94

2.33

0.708

3rd inning

2.45

9

0.456

4th inning

11.7

2.33

1.263

5th inning

0

3.5

0.423

6th inning

3.24

3.33

0.698

7th inning

3.68

0.643

8th inning

0

1

0.984

Innings 1-3

3.89

2.5

0.638

Innings 4-6

5.27

3

0.856

Innings 7-9

3

3.5

0.724

(btw that 7th inning K/BB is 5/0)

(It also appears the 4th inning is the BAD INNING)

Pitches 76-100 rock faces off. We can also see that somewhere between pitches 26-75 are where the ever feared BAD INNING tends to happen. But if he can wriggle out of those BAD INNINGS by hook or by crook, he's got enough awesome in him to get to the 8th and then have a seat.

The trouble with Hammel is that the game may or may not be in a comfortable spot to allow him to fight his way through the meat of his pitches. Again, we have a lose-lose for Jim Tracy. You play it safe, give him the hook, he gets "Jim Tracy just doesn't have faith in any of his rotation outside of Ubaldo Jimenez, and it's destroying the confidence of these pitchers. Jim Tracy just can't manage pitching." If he risks it, puts faith in that giant curveball, and the BAD INNING happens, which is bound to consist of one line drive, one absurd bloop, one defensive error, and maybe even a walk.complete with 1 line drive, 1 bloop single/seeing eye grounder, one defensive misplay or error, and one walk, he gets hit with "Jim Tracy clearly doesn't understand the limitations of his pitching rotation. While Hammel is a good mid-to-back end starter, he's trying to ride him like he would Ubaldo Jimenez, and that just won't fly with all the guys he has on staff. Jim Tracy just can't manage pitching."

I, personally, have appreciated the faith Tracy has put in Hammel as of late, and for the most part, it's paid off. Were I in Apodaca's shoes, I'd advise just giving Hammel the straight yank after 6 in his next start, unless he's at like 63 pitches with 8K and no BB and like 2 squirted hits or something. Give the bullpen clean slates to work with, and I think we'll all be better off for it. It'll give Hammel a rest and hopefully we can magically avoid the Bad Inning - despite all the evidence that suggesting it's unavoidable.

ATF will be bringing us links and the news past the jump.

[Other Andrew here] Sorry for the late Rockpile everyone. I forgot I was covering for Jeff, who is stranded in the Sahara. AM was bursting with commentary, so I'll just add the news here:

Rockies seek rare sweep in San Diego
Oh that's so yummy.

Mora's defense needs work - The Denver Post
It is sort of not Melvin Mora's fault that he is short. Or that he's not accustomed to playing first base. But having Todd Helton at first last night would have made a world of difference.

Peaks & Valleys - June 30 - Where Everyone Becomes A Free Agent Tonight, Even Us - Mile High Buzz - SB Nation Denver
Check out Muzia's daily feature at SBNation Denver, the highs and lows of sports in the Rockies.

Matt Belisle Is Good … Really | FanGraphs Baseball
Must....resist....the....urge...to....say....click me.

Not to worry: Rockies` Jimenez will rebound - Boulder Daily Camera
If anyone is worried, David Ramsey promises Ubaldo will be fine. "We need to find reasonable numbers for baseball`s best pitcher. How about 27 wins and a 1.98 ERA?"

Cliff Lee and others on Padres radar, but tough to acquire
If this happens, I'm jumping off a cliff.