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Sunday Rockpile: Ubaldo Jimenez and the whalers

There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!

The recipe for the Rockies to win the NL West in 2011 requires several ingredients, one of which is a healthy and dominant Ubaldo Jimenez having another productive season. It doesn't necessarily have to be a full year like his first three or so months of 2010, but the aggregate value of his 2011 should be close to that of 2010 if the Rockies expect to compete. It's therefore a bit discouraging to me to see Jimenez's post All Star break performance last year invoked by some fans as one of the reasons that the Rockies as a team came up short at the end, when he was still pitching at a high level (not quite as high as in the first half, granted). No, the the much larger, more damaging collapses came from the offense: Miguel Olivo took a pendulum swing from an All-Star caliber catcher to a sub-replacement sinkhole. Left fielder Seth Smith also slumped badly as the season wore on. Neither Clint Barmes nor his replacements at second base could hit close to as effectively as Barmes hit in the first half.

Troy Renck takes a look at Jimenez's fastball command issues of the second half.

Brian Gomez from the Colorado Springs Gazette reports on the chemistry between Chris Iannetta and Jimenez, and how both are seeking to take their games up a step this season.

Smith is also looking to bring his game up, and hopes to get more PA's in the Spring against LHP's to show that he's capable of hitting them.

Iannetta, Smith and Ian Stewart... like I said, the recipe involves a lot of ingredients coming together. I've actually hit that point where the recipe is an incessant drumbeat that I get tired of looking at and I just want to watch them play already. I imagine that feeling's only more intense for the players involved.