Thursday’s First Pitch

Welcome to .500 and third place, Rockies fans…

First off, there may not be a “Matchup” or “Battery” post today. There’s a chance I may be in Denver all day where I won’t be in front of a computer. Watch the Denver Post website, the Rockies page on Twitter, or Alanna Rizzo’s Facebook page for info about the Rockies for game info today.

Jason Hammel pitched a gem Wednesday, but like Ubaldo last weekend, ended up taking a loss he never should have. Thank you, offense. More on that later.

That said, let’s talk about the De La Rosa injury.

A few details have been cleared up about the future of the pitching rotation. General Manager Dan O’Dowd said in an interview with Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies will look within their organization to fill the void left by De La Rosa.

Bruce Billings is up from Triple-A Colorado Springs for a few days to protect the key arms in the bullpen, Juan Nicasio will be brought up to start Saturday against the Cardinals, and it’s very likely the highly-touted Rex Brothers will be brought up before the calendar hits June. As for the rotation, it could very well look like this.

1. Ubaldo Jimenez
2. Jhoulys Chacin
3. Jason Hammel
4. Aaron Cook
5. Clayton Mortenson

Still a quality rotation, but everyone will have to step their game up a notch if the Rockies want to contend. Obviously they’ll miss De La Rosa’s arm, but this rotation could still compete. Speaking of competing…

Moving on, there’s another issue that’s become a legitimate concern – the offense.

One particular play demonstrated perfectly how the Rockies’ year has gone so far. Todd Helton faced Ian Kennedy in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game. Helton drove a ball to deep right field that was clearly a home run. Except it tailed foul by a matter of a few feet.

The month of April was like the first half of that hit – high and deep and obviously gone, and everyone in the park was celebrating. The Rockies’ May has been the second half of that hit – the half that started when the ball went foul.

Close, but no cigar.

The Rockies fell to 6-11 in one-run games, an aspect of the game that severely hurt the team last year. They’re also 12-12 at home. If you want to win a championship, you have to win on the road, but you absolutely have to defend your home turf.

12-12 won’t get the job done, and neither will 24-24. The Rockies have to right the ship tomorrow, or face another losing month when June rolls around.

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