Despite the obvious on the mound, the Rockies continue to put Aaron Cook on the mound every fifth game. On Tuesday night the club paid the price again, losing to the Giants 10-0. Cook gave up four runs in the first inning, and the damage would have been worse had Ryan Spilborghs not made a good throw to record the third out at the plate.
In all, the damage for Cook was three innings pitched, eight hits, five earned runs with two strikeouts and two walks.
The offense obviously did not score any runs, yet the loss falls squarely on the shoulders of Cook. The redhead is a shell of the pitcher that pitched in the All Star game in 2008. Instead of relying on his sinker, the pitch that has made him a wealthy man, Cook has toyed with a hanging curveball all season long. The breaking pitch is clearly not working, yet Cook continues to throw it. The reinvented Cook is not the answer the Rockies need.
Despite his struggles, the Rockies decided to keep Cook in the rotation and send up-and-coming starter Jhoulys Chacin back to Colorado Springs despite the two having numbers that would suggest that was not the move that needed to be made.
With Cook, the situation is dicey because traditionally baseball's hierarchy suggests that a player with Cook's resume cannot be supplanted by a rookie like Chacin. Basically, a veteran gets the respect from the front office because of what he has accomplished in the past, despite what he is actually doing on the field at the time.
That decision may be the nail in the coffin for the 2010 Rockies.
The fact is, heading into Tuesday night the Rockies had 55 games left to play and trailed the San Diego Padres by 7-1/2 games in the National League West race. That kind of deficit, coupled by the fact that the Rockies also have to chase down the red hot Giants, means that games against those two teams, especially games played at home, are crucial.
Do the Rockies have to win every single game against those two teams. Of course not, but they cannot afford to simply give games away like they did on Tuesday night. They need to put a pitcher on the mound who can keep them in the game long enough to strike. Every pitcher has off nights, but Cook has been mired in a season-long slump and give his team almost zero chance to win a game.
Tuesday night surely made the decision easy for the Rockies. Aaron Cook will no longer be in the rotation, that is almost guaranteed. However, it may be a little too late for the club. A win would have put the Rockies just 4-1/2 games out the wild card race. The loss puts them 6-1/2 out. It has essentially come down to every series that the Rockies play being extremely important. They absolutely must go on a run at some point, and they cannot afford to lose series.
Tuesday may have marked the last time Aaron Cook starts a game for the Rockies in 2010, but for the Rockies playoff chances it may have been three starts too late for the playoffs.
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