Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cook struggles with two outs as Colorado Rockies miss chance to sweep

As the Colorado Rockies season continues to dwindle down the drain, Aaron Cook continues to take the mound every fifth day.

Anyone who still argued three weeks ago that the Rockies had a chance to crawl back into the race had completely ignored the fact that Cook was a regular in the club's rotation.

Look at Cook's line on Sunday and it really doesn't look bad. He only gave up three runs in three runs in six innings. He struck out two and walked four.

The problem for Cook came with two outs. Both innings in which the Padres scored against the redhead, he had already recorded two quick outs. After the two outs, Cook gave up hits and walks and hit-batters which resulted in base runners. Followed immediately by a big hit that scored runs for the Padres.

Cook isn't the pitcher that he once was. He used to rely primarily on his sinker. He induced ground balls and was dependable. Even when he gave up hits, he often got the next hitter to ground into a double play. He was able to throw the occasional four-seamed fastball up in order to induce a strike out.

That was the old Cook. The new Aaron Cook hits only about 87 MPH on the radar gun. He used to be consistently in the low-90's. He threw his sinker 75-80 percent of the time, and didn't care if the batter knew what was coming.

Without the same velocity, the sinker ball no longer moves the way it used to. Even three miles per hour difference makes and enormous impact. What that has done is forced Cook to incorporate a curve ball. Unfortunately for the righty, the curve ball is far from a dominating pitch. Often, it isn't even a strike.

The results have been disastrous, as evidenced by Cook's 5.74 ERA and 3-9 record.

There is little doubt that Cook is in his last month in a Rockies uniform, however, the veteran's performance and ability to stay in the rotation is a testament to the lack of depth in the Rockies farm system, which is a scary thought for the future of the club.

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