Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rockies Split Doubleheader; Cook Finds His Sinker

The Rockies lackluster performance in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday was made up for in game two.

The club split the two games with the Marlins, dropping the first one 4-1 before winning the second game 8-1 behind a complete game performance from former ace Aaron Cook.

The second game allowed Rockies fans to breathe a sigh of relief, not just because the club got back to .500 with the win, but because Cook looked like he found his sinker once again. The right hander pitched a complete game, giving up just five hits, all singles, he walked just two hitters and struck out four. The complete game took just 111 pitches.

The game was vintage Cook.

After struggling mightily in his first three starts and throughout spring training, the redhead had more than just the average pessimist nervous. He had turned from a dependable ground ball pitcher who could work his way out of jams to a pitcher who could not hold a lead and was floating lifeless sinkers right into a hitter's happy zone.

His Saturday performance was a welcomed reminder of what he is capable of.

The game may have been a shutout, had Jason Giambi cleanly fielded a ground ball in the sixth inning. With a double play in order, the bulky backup misplayed a ground ball, which allowed the runner at first to get to second safely. Giambi was able to avoid an error, however, by picking up the ball and feeding it to Cook who covered first. The recovery resulted in an out, but the misplay resulted in a run later in the inning.

On the offensive side the Rockies finally looked like the team that everyone thought that they would be. Troy Tulowitzki logged two hits, Giambi finally hit a ball hard, and Miguel Olivo, who is quietly solidifying himself as the starting catcher, clubbed his 100th career home run deep into the pond beyond the center field wall.

Game one was a different story for the Rockies. Greg Smith was did not bring his best stuff to the mound. He gave up four earned runs in five innings pitched. The performance was uninspiring, yet it kept the Rockies in the game. Manny Corpas came in and delivered what the club has long been hoping to see from him. He pitched three scoreless innings of relief, giving up no hits and walking only one Marlin. It finally seems as if Corpas has found a role that will allow him to gain his confidence back once again.

The problem with the first game was the same problem that has been plaguing the club for the first month of the season, a lack of offense. The bottom of the lineup was a black hole, with Chris Iannetta and Clint Barmes continuing their downward spirals. Iannetta was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts as Barmes tallied his own 0-for-3.

For four years the Rockies have been waiting for Iannetta to step up and take the reins at the catcher of the future. In each of those years he has been crowned the starting catcher in spring training, but then simply fails to deliver. 2008 was a good year for the catcher, however he just cannot seem to find his swing on a consistent basis in the big leagues.

When the bottom of the order is a lost cause, it essentially kills three innings of the game and causes the rest of the offense to only have six innings to score runs in. It kills any momentum that the team has.

All in all, the Rockies will take a split. Especially because of the fact that Aaron Cook looked as good as he did. If he returns to form, the club will well be on their way to winning more consistently, knowing that between Ubaldo Jimenez, Cook and Jorge De La Rosa, they have a pretty good chance to win three out of every five games.

For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

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