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Saturday Rockpile: Rockies Continue Decent Road Play; Injury Updates on Helton, Chacin, and Cuddyer

With the return of Jhoulys Chacin looming, Tyler Chatwood (pictured above) should get a chance to continue to develop in an environment that is right for him.
With the return of Jhoulys Chacin looming, Tyler Chatwood (pictured above) should get a chance to continue to develop in an environment that is right for him.

The Rockies are in the midst of a bizarre road trip which has seen them post two shutouts while allowing just one run in three wins. While they have faced somewhat dull offenses is run-suppressing ballparks, it's still no small feat for a pitching staff that has posted a 5.37 ERA this season.

On the road, the Rox are now 20-32. A series in win San Francisco will mean that the Rockies will have the same amount of road wins as home wins, and in four less games, to boot. The team's ERA is over a run and a half lower on the road than it is in the Mile High City. At first glance, I figured that keeping the ball in the strike zone was a large part of why the ERA discrepancy is so large. However, the Rox have actually posted a better K/BB ratio at Coors Field, albeit only slightly. The real difference is BABIP, which is monstrous in Denver and normal on the road. Don't tell the pitchers that, though, or they may be even more reluctant to get the ball over the plate in their home park.

Just a couple of links for today...

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton has surgery on left hip - The Denver Post
The good news is that no additional damage was found in Helton's hip. Old Todd will be ready to go in time for spring training in 2013, which marks the final year of his deal. It is quite likely that next year will be Helton's last, so let's hope that he stays healthy enough to give us a vintage Todd Helton season on his way out the door.

In other news, Jhoulys Chacin will make a rehab start tonight for the Sky Sox. Barring any setbacks, he'll be in the Rockies' rotation shortly thereafter. He would likely take the place of Tyler Chatwood, who rebounded after a shaky first inning to pitch a bit of a gem last night in San Francisco. It's still the right call, as the 22-year-old needs more seasoning - preferably at the Double-A level, where he can focus on throwing strikes and staying composed without the worry of getting killed in hitter's park after hitter's park, unlike in Triple-A. And, at that young age, he can stay in AA for the rest of this year and even all of next year, if necessary, and still will be age-appropriate for the level.

Also on the injury front, Michael Cuddyer looks set to start rehabbing next week, barring any issues with his evaluation by the Rockies' medical staff on Monday. Cuddyer, who has provided exactly league-average production all season, will probably get the majority of the starts at first base down the stretch once he's able to return.

The science behind the four man rotation - Blake Street Bulletin " Blake Street Bulletin
Our friends at Blake Street Bulletin conducted an interview with Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute regarding the Rockies' four-man rotation. Pretty interesting read if you have a few minutes. Check it out.