LaTroy Hawkins is one of the better people in the game of baseball and has had a fantastic career, but closing out ballgames for the Colorado Rockies in the short-term doesn’t help the team at all.
The Colorado Rockies soared to a series sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers in the opening week of the Major League season, bringing hope to the faithful fans at 20th and Blake. One thing that stuck out in Colorado’s 5-4 win over Milwaukee on Apr. 8 was LaTroy Hawkins first blown save of the season. Hawk gave up four hits in the bottom half of the ninth inning, one of them coming from Carlos Gomez whom tied the game up at 4-4 with an RBI single. Hawkins eventually picked up the win but he isn’t a guy who strikes out a lot of batters – something needed at the back-end of the pen.
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Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. Hawkins had the chance to give Colorado a second-straight series win which could have pushed Colorado’s record to 5-1, but a familiar face put an end to that dream. Dexter Fowler drilled a two-run home run off Hawkins in the top half of the ninth inning, proving to the be the game-winning run(s). Wellington Castillo jump-started the inning with an RBI single of his own. After picking up his second blown save of the season in three total chances, LaTroy saw his ERA jump all the way up to 16.88. You don’t have to be an expert to know that’s not good-by any stretch of the imagination.
One thing that I’d like to hit on is that LaTroy essentially pitches to contact in this stage of his career. At 42-years-old, Hawkins still brings the noise but doesn’t have the swing-and-miss type of stuff. In three total appearances this season (2.2 innings), Hawkins has surrendered seven hits, five runs-five earned, one home run, one walk and has struck out four batters.
Bringing attention to the main point of this article, LaTroy Hawkins shouldn’t be closing games for the Colorado Rockies. I’m happy with the current record of 4-2, but this team could easily be 5-1 entering Monday afternoon’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Which brings up the topic of who the team’s closer should be. Adam Ottavino? Boone Logan? John Axford? They have three solid options. Rafael Betancourt could be a wild-card. When it’s all said and done, I can’t see Hawkins being the Rockies closer after this month. It’s something Colorado needs to address if they consider themselves a contender, which they have played the part thus far in six games.