Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jimenez and Bullpen Power Rockies Past Padres

The Colorado Rockies are notorious for their slow starts.
In each of the last three years the Rockies have fallen well below .500. In two of those three years the Rockies spent the remaining five months of the season digging themselves out of their hole.

Their are many theories as to why the Rockies have been slow starters. Every expert seems to have their own reason why the club has started slow. The fact is, whatever the reason, the Rockies have to deal with the questions until they prove that they can play well in April.

After losing 5-4 in 14 innings on Saturday night, the Rockies, who lost their first series of the season in Milwaukee, needed a win on Sunday if for nothing else to avoid the questions about another slow start.

The Rockies pulled through, winning 4-2 over the Padres in a game that felt as if the Rockies were in complete control.

Being in control of the game is something Rockies fans are getting used to when Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound.

The flamethrowing righty went six innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out seven.

While Jimenez's line was strong, it was clear that he did not have his best stuff. He struggled with control throughout the six innings and was behind in the count often. The only reason Jimenez only went six innings was because he was going so deep into counts that his pitch count had reached 115.

The fact that Jimenez did not have anywhere close to his best stuff, yet was still dominant gives the Rockies a great idea of how good the young Domincan pitcher really has become.

Jimenez has always had the potential of being a true ace, but could not get over the one big inning that he seemed to always give up. He would let a guy get on base, then lose composure on the mound and give up three or four runs, spoiling an otherwise splendid day.

This is a new season, and with the new season it seems as if Jimenez has new found confidence in his ability to trust his stuff and throw strikes to get ahead of hitters. With his stuff, Jimenez should find himself in several All-Star games during his career.

As good as Jimenez was, the bullpen was even better.
Manny Corpas, Randy Flores, Matt Daley and Franklin Morales combined to go three scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and striking out three Padre hitters. A strong bullpen while Huston Street remains on the disabled list is a huge key for the Rockies success.

The Rockies, despite getting the win, have a small concern.

Carlos Gonzalez started in centerfield, but was forced to come out of the game in the third inning after feeling his hamstring tighten up while rounding third base on his way home on Troy Tulowitzki's two RBI single.

The injury is most likely nothing serious, but Gonzalez has shown early on that he has figured out Major League pitching and is ready to come into his own.

Dexter Fowler, who went 0-for-6 on Saturday, replaced Gonzalez and roped a triple down the right field line in the fifth inning.

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