Hammel looked like he was going to be just fine. He got two quick outs, then was up on Justin Upton 0-2 before walking him, giving up a single to Mark Reynolds, then giving up a three run home to Adam LaRoche.
The three run first inning was all Haren needed as he mowed down one Rockies hitters after another. In all, Haren went eight innings, giving up just two runs on five hits. He struck out 10 Rockies while walking only two.
Hammel, who has struggled his last three times out, came out of the game after the third inning. He left, not because of ineffectiveness, but due to a tight groin muscle, the second starting pitcher to go down with injury in as many days. On Sunday Jorge De La Rosa left with a finger injury. After the game on Monday Jim Tracy said that the injury is torn flexor tendon band in his left middle finger, an injury that will put him on the shelf for a while. If he throws anymore on it, it could tear the ligament, resulting in a lost season for the lefty. It is safe to assume that De La Rosa will be out for at least six weeks.
Hammel's injury is more of a day to day type of problem. However, the Rockies will most likely use it as an excuse to give the struggling righty without any options left a chance to find his mechanics and make a couple of rehab starts before rejoining the rotation.
The injuries will most likely prompt the club to recall Esmil Rogers and Jhoulys Chacin. Rogers started the season as the clubs long man out of the bullpen and did well there, and Chacin has been lights out in Colorado Springs, pitching to the tune of 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 21-1/3 innings. His control problems of a year ago seem to have gone out the window. He has struck out 21 and walked only 11 Triple-A hitters.
As Jim Tracy said in his postgame press conference, the injuries are going to test the depth of the organization. Early in the year, with the Rockies sitting right at .500 two young pitchers are going to be thrown into the deep end and given a chance to prove that they belong in the Major League rotation.
For what it's worth, losing two starters in two days would be a near season-ender for many teams in the league, but the Rockies are so full of depth at the starting pitching spot that they may take a step back, but throwing in the towel is nowhere close to where the Rockies are at. In fact, the truth is, both Chacin and Rogers have more physical talent than Hammel and probably will end up being better pitchers at the Major League level when they get their chance.
The injuries will undoubtedly test the Rockies, it will be interesting to see if they sink in the adversity, or learn to swim.
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