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April 25, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (45) throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Eat Your Heart Out

That should definitely be Jhoulys Chacin‘s catch phrase. If it eventually gains momentum, I want full credit.

It is, of course, in reference to general manager Dan O’Dowd’s concern this offseason that Chacin was…ahem…out of shape. Even though Chacin has not had much to brag about so far in 2012, I would still like to see him adopt this as his motto. At the very least we could make some cool shirts, right? We can even mix in “All you can eat!” if you want.

I actually believe Chacin has shown flashes of a pitcher who can have an impact this season. He looked strong against Arizona in a rain shortened outing. If he had not been forced to exit after 4 innings by Mother Nature, he might have gotten his first victory of the season that night. He went 7 in Milwaukee, and his struggles in Pittsburgh warrant an asterisk, at the very least, due to Carlos Gonzalez‘s issues with the sun. Chacin is still responsible for the two bombs he proceeded to surrender, of course, but I hesitate to use that inning as any kind of evidence of a larger problem. It was just weird.

The biggest sign to me that Chacin can bring it this year came in a moment when he wasn’t pitching. It happened in the top of the 5th inning on Wednesday. In a key situation, in a game where runs were hard to come by, Chacin legged out an infield single.

Seriously! Would a fat guy have displayed that type of explosive speed up the line? I don’t think so. Eat your heart out, Dan O’Dowd.

For better or for worse, Chacin looks to me like he is playing with an edge. On the one hand that might perpetuate the struggles Chacin has already battled in his career when it comes to controlling the damage in tough innings. If he was already battling a perception that he cannot control his emotions, something we did see in the “sun” inning the other day, then playing with an edge might not be a bad thing.

On the other hand, it’s nice to see that Chacin might grasp the urgency of his situation. Even though he was rushed to the show two years ago, patience with him is short. He needs to be a top of the rotation guy. He needs to display a maturity that exceeds his age and his normal disposition. To me, playing with an edge, legging out an infield single when other pitchers might have loafed, at least looks like Chacin knows how important he is to this team. If the perceptions of one fan sitting on his couch at home are right, I would say that it’s better to temper a little too much attitude than the other way around, especially on a franchise that fights a constantly fickle psychology when it comes to expectations.

Plus, it might mean that he is out to prove something. If he succeeds in doing so, it potentially spawns a pretty excellent catch phrase. Imagine a key game in September 2012. The surprisingly relevant Rockies are on the brink of a huge victory in the playoff push. Their stud, Jhoulys Chacin, faces a key situation. Runners on, protecting a one run lead. The opposition’s best hitter up. Chacin pulls the string on a filthy offspeed pitch to get strike 3 and escape, and with an emphatic fist pump he barks…

EAT YOUR HEART OUT BABY.

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