Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cook Ties Rockies Record For Wins

A night after the Rockies had a chance to write in the team history books and failed, Aaron Cook had his chance and succeeded. The gutsy redhead threw seven innings, giving up three runs, two on back-to-back solo home runs from Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria, while striking out three and walking one. The win improved Cook to 6-3 on the season and 58-47 for his career.

The win ties Cook with Jason Jennings for the franchise record in wins by a pitcher.

The record tying outing, in many ways, resembled Cook's career. He worked flawlessly through the first three innings, using his sinker to induce ground outs. Then, after being staked to a 4-0 lead courtesy of a Troy Tulowitzki three run home run, Cook ran into trouble.

With two outs in the fifth Cook gave up the back-to-back homers to Crawford and Longoria. It seemed as if Cook may be losing his stride and that the bullpen would be in for a fair amount of work to preserve a win.

Cook entered the sixth inning already having thrown 90 pitches on the night. After inducing a double play ball, the right hander was out of the inning, his pitch count at 98, allowing him to throw the seventh inning as well.

The game resembles Cook's career because it was not a night in which he had his best pitches working for him. He ran into trouble and could not get the slider over consistently. Instead of getting down on himself, Cook looked inside, and found a way to go and get outs. Even though the performance was sloppy, it is that mentality that inks Cook in the Rockies record book. He worked through the tough moments so that he could help his team get the win.

The ace of the Rockies staff, a second round pick in 1997, spent several years in the minors before finally making his Major League debut in 2002. In 2003 he was showing his talent and ability to do well on the Major League level, going 4-6 while working mostly out of the bullpen.

The Rockies were excited about what Cook had to offer and moved him into the rotation permanently for the '04 season. It was his chance to shine.

He was well on his way to the season that he and the Rockies were hoping for, with a chance to win 10 games, Cook was on the mound against his hometown Cincinnati Reds in August of '04. He was having a hard time breathing, it was enough of a problem that he told trainer Keith Dugger that he needed to come out of the game. Dugger was quick enough to realize that the symptoms were severe and rushed Cook to the hospital where doctors discovered a blood clot in his lungs.

Many doctors said that if it were not for the quick reactions by Dugger, Cook would have died on the mound that day.

Needless to say, Cook's baseball career was put on hold. The 25 year-old had another battle to fight. Most believed that Cook would never return to the Majors.

However, just over a year later, Cook was back with the Rockies, helping them down the stretch and finishing the '05 season with a 7-2 record in 13 starts.

The fact that Cook even attempted to come back from the injury is a true testament to who he is as a person and as a pitcher. When things are not going his way he does not just give in and accept that he cannot have what he wants, he fights back.

The Colorado Rockies and their fans have now seen it 58 times in his career. Cook is a hard-nosed professional who no one will ever worry about when he takes the ball every fifth day.

He proved it again on Wednesday and will continue to prove it as he claims the Rockies win record and runs with it.

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