Pitchers offer brief relief from season slump


Emma Carroll writes, If you’ve been paying attention to the 2007 NL Champions, the Colorado Rockies, you’ll know they’ve hit a speed bump.

If you’ve been paying attention to the 2007 NL Champions, the Colorado Rockies, you’ll know they’ve hit a speed bump. A very large, never-ending, disabled list-adding, defeat-attracting speed bump.Regardless, there are a few glimmers of hope on the horizon. Let’s call them Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Brian Fuentes, and Jeff Francis.They are our chief performers in our pitching staff, which is great, due to our reputation as having a bad pitching staff (World Series pitching memories, anyone?). Aaron Cook stands out among them, despite his failed efforts Friday, where he gave up seven runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yet he worked a complete game in May, and yesterday he led the team to another win (2-1) at Dodger Stadium. He is 8-3 with a 3.16 earned run average, and 5-2 on the road. For a while, he was our one life saving device, keeping us afloat when other pitchers failed to. And then, Jeff Francis stepped up and showed us that him and Cook are our most reliable arms.Francis, Francis, Francis. We thought he’d never break out of his shell. Though he’s2-5 with a 5.53 ERA, he proved to us he’s got game on Tuesday, when he worked a seven inning shut out (3-0) against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. He allowed only four hits, a fabulous change after his last two starts, where he gave up nine runs total in eleven innings. During the Tuesday game, Francis, alert as ever, gave up a single by Juan Pierre, but then got him out when Pierre attempted a save. He also struck out five and walked only two. Then, Brian Fuentes went in at the start of the ninth to finish it off.Wednesday’s game would be Brian Fuentes’ seventh save. After Manny Corpas failed to deliver a few times, Fuentes moved back in to the closer role and keeped himself there with his consistency, a foreign concept to the Rockies. Fuentes has a 2.55 ERA out of 24.2 innings pitched and has allowed 21 hits this season and walked 8. He’s a great closer, but we also have to focus on the other side of the game. That’s where Ubaldo Jimenez comes in.Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to start the Friday game against the Brewers, which will be a big defining moment for him. He had a spectacular game recently, which gave us a view of what he can do, but the Rockies lost after the save was blown by another Rockies pitcher. He has failed to reach his full potential, as he is 1-6 with a 5.37 ERA and has walked 36 batters this season and given up 74 total hits. Fans, do not give up on him just yet, though. He might be back in the game by Friday, so keep your hopes up, and let’s hope he delivers.In fact, let’s hope out entire pitching staff delivers! Pitching has always been a weakness, but if these guys and others like Taylor Buccholz, Matt Herges, Greg Reynolds, and Jorge De La Rosa step up to the mound, we will have a great staff on our hands. And not to be pessimistic, but don’t get your hopes up toohigh.Thanks to the Rocky Mountain News.